Good influence: meet the social media star making HOPE go viral

Hope Atlanta
3 min readJan 16, 2023

Inside HOPE Atlanta’s partnership with local influencer Damiola “Dami” Akindele

When most of us think of social media influencers, celebrity selfies, makeup tutorials, or viral dance moves might come to mind. But some influencers are using their platforms to spread more meaningful content, including 21-year-old Damiola “Dami” Akindele, an Atlanta native known for his authenticity and uplifting messages.

Dami, a Kennesaw State University Student, started posting lighthearted videos on TikTok during quarantine.

“For the first time in my life, everything was on pause,” he recalled. “There was no work, no school. All I had was me, myself, and I in a little bubble. It forced me to learn different versions of myself. I learned things about myself I didn’t know.”

After pivoting to a more serious, relatable subject matter, his following grew to more than 6 million.

“I built the foundation of my platform telling my story,” he said. “The reason I’ve built this platform is relatability — a story of some version of my life told in a very poetic way. I’m not a motivational speaker. I don’t call myself a ‘positivity guru.’ I’m just a guy with a camera that likes real stuff. I want people to hear me talk and say, ‘Man, that stuff hits.’”

As Dami’s influence grew, so did his interest in making a difference. He set out to partner with a nonprofit close to home, and since he felt empathy for those experiencing homelessness from a young age, he decided on HOPE Atlanta.

“I remember one time I went to a Hawks game,” he said. “I spent hundreds of dollars to watch people bounce a ball and put it in the net, and on the way in, I was seeing these large groups of people on the sidewalk just laying there. And here I am, spending all this money to watch a game when there are people out here without necessities. People shouldn’t have to live that way.”

Late last year, Dami created a series of videos urging his followers to share what HOPE meant to them and spread HOPE by donating. Their response was nothing short of inspiring.

“My heart breaks for those who are left out in the rain, in the cold,” one donor wrote. “I am not rich and can barely make ends meet, but I understand the necessities of life shouldn’t be a fight. I wish I could do more.”

Another commented, “As a high school student, it’s hard to make a change and help others in need. I don’t have a ton of money, but I want to help the most I can.”

This month, Dami continued his mission to spread HOPE by volunteering at HOPE Atlanta’s Women’s Community Kitchen (WCK). Besides helping prepare and serve food to women and children in need — many of them experiencing homelessness — he took time to listen to the guests’ stories. One hit particularly close to home.

“I didn’t grow up with money. I didn’t wear the nicest shoes, and one of the kids here today at the WCK, he got some new shoes,” he said. “I asked him what his dream was, and he said he wanted to be a football player. I told him, ‘Don’t let go of that dream.’”

For more of Dami’s uplifting content and stories, follow him on Instagram (@therealfadadami) and TikTok (@fadadami).

Want to join Dami and friends in making a difference in 2023?

Learn more about ways to provide HOPE and volunteer opportunities with HOPE Atlanta.

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Hope Atlanta

Hope Atlanta seeks to prevent and end homelessness by empowering clients to achieve stability and self-sufficiency.