How YouTube star and son of Nigerian immigrants KSI turned his followers into a $24M fortune

Abu Mubarik September 27, 2023
YouTube star Olajide Olatunji. Photo: Wikimedia Commons/ Gymshark

Olajide Olatunji (KSI) is a British-Nigerian content creator who transitioned from commenting on and reacting to FIFA video games on YouTube to becoming one of the most celebrated influencers in the world.

His journey began in 2008 when he first arrived on YouTube. A year later, his channel was launched under the name KSIOlajideBT and he began filming himself playing video games – usually FIFA and running humorous commentaries which earned him millions of followers.

Then 15 years old, Olatunji’s newfound fame and success on YouTube will turn him away from his parents’ ambition for him. 

“I was aged between 15 and 16 when I started on YouTube, but I didn’t want to tell anyone,” he told the Sun in 2016. “Back then, people would be like: ‘What are you doing? You’re such a weirdo. Why are you making videos online?’

“But I felt I could be more outgoing on YouTube. I could do anything, be anyone.”

His focus on YouTube resulted in him paying less attention to his education at the fee-paying Berkhamsted School. He ended up failing his A-Levels as the demands of YouTube grew. This infuriated his parents.

He recalled in an interview with the Grounded podcast in 2020, “My parents lost their s***. My mum just screamed. “I’ve never seen her scream so loud, and she was just throwing glasses everywhere. My dad was like, ‘Everything we’ve worked for has come to nothing.’ It just crushed him.”

His parents took drastic measures to stop him from YouTube but it was to no avail. They disconnected the home internet and hid his Xbox but he eventually dropped out of school on the advice of his teacher to concentrate on his YouTube full time.

“I told my teacher that I wasn’t enjoying school and that I was enjoying YouTube more, and that I was getting paid good amounts,” he said in a 2014 interview with the Telegraph.

“I asked the teacher, ‘should I leave?’ He asked, ‘how much are you making from YouTube?’ and I said around £1,500 a month. He told me he was getting less than that.”

A decade down the line, KSI has become a multimillionaire on the back of the success of his YouTube channel. He has more than 40 million subscribers and cumulative views spanning more than 10 billion.

Today, he runs YouTube with other ventures, including music, boxing, and his boxing company, MisFits Boxing. He also co-owns Prime Hydration energy drink with former boxing rival Logan Paul. The energy drink has taken the industry by storm, becoming extremely popular among its young fanbase. The drink has even sponsored the Arsenal Football Club.

Also, KSI co-founded the online group The Sidemen and became a co-owner of a restaurant chain and a vodka brand as well as having a property portfolio. The son of Nigerian immigrants in the UK has said that his legacy is to be the greatest of all time (GOAT).

“I want people to look back in years to come and be like, “You know what? KSI did a madness. He started with no talent. Absolutely f*** all. And he was able to start with zero subscribers to then be this guy who’s got plenty of number ones in music,” he told Men’s Health.

“Was able to fight, like, massive YouTubers and all these other things that people thought he was never able to do. Get all these accolades. From literally nothing.”

KSI was recently featured on Forbes ‘Top Creators 2023’ with earnings of $24 million. His position on the list makes him one of the top content creators in the world with not only a huge following but a massive fortune.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: September 27, 2023


Must Read

Connect with us

Join our Mailing List to Receive Updates