|Mickey Bustos and Lilly Singh, two of YouTube's stars, performed at YouTube's FanFest in Manila.|
QUICK! Besides the rapper Drake, name two other entertainers from Toronto who are wildly popular with the under-25 crowd.
Before I answer, if you're unfamiliar with social media shorthand, let me interpret the headline for this post: "YouTube FanFest-Philippines: Oh my god! Laugh out loud (the title of famous YouTuber's rap)! Toronto takes over the Philippines!"
|Emcee Mickey Bustos opens the YouTube Fanjets in Manila.|
For the first time, Lilly Singh (AKA Superwoman) and Mickey Bustos, both natives of Toronto, were on the same stage at the same time. Judging by the reception in Manila, you'd think they were rockstars. Catch Bustos opening number:
Bustos, who moved to Manila after reaching the finals of Canadian Idol, was picked as the event's emcee. The FanFest was held last weekend attracting thousands of internet savvy fans to the World Trade Center auditorium in Manila.
Singh, with 11 million followers, was the main headliner of a cast that included internationally known stars and a host of local creators. Singh ranked third in the Forbes list of highest paid YouTube stars for 2016.
Her parents are Punjabi immigrants and she is Sikh. She weaves her ethnicity throughout there videos and her stage performances.
They're not so well known in the mainstream entertainment world, but to those online addicts, the YouTube performers are treated like celebrities.
The days of getting discovered at the corner drugstore in Hollywood are so yesterday. More than likely, entertainers have found the online venues to be the best way to introduce themselves to the world. For Asian/Americans who find it more difficult to get the attention of talent scouts than white performers, YouTube is the great equalizer.
In the early days of YouTube, breakout stars Japanese/American Ryan Higa (nigahiga) and Vietnamese/American Michelle Phan paved the way by topping YouTube’s most-subscribed charts.
Since then, they've been joined by a host of other virtual performers and channels, most notably Wong Fu Productions, which create short films, music videos and even air their own video drama series, social comment Fung Bros., comedian Alex Wassabi and singer AJ Rafael.
It's a whole different world than mainstream media but YouTube is providing a platform for performers that Hollywood can no longer ignore.
|The YouTube FanFest in Manila was viewed by thousands through - what else? - the lenses of their smartphones and video cameras.|
|Lilly Singh is making the big leap from online stardom to Hollywood.|