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Chad Jones quit his 9-5 to focus on being TikTok sensation

It is not about money, but about opportunities – influencer

Social media influencer and dancer Chad Jones.
Social media influencer and dancer Chad Jones.

Social media influencer and TikTok star Chad Jones had to quit his professional job to pursue his newly found passion.

Jones first emerged on the TikTok scene last year in a video featuring him dancing to an amapiano song with his parents. For an Asian family flexing their bodies to some of the popular amapiano tunes normally associated with nightclubs and townships, the Joneses quickly became an online sensation amassing 1.4m followers on the app. 

His popularity on TikTok has seen the dancer from Gqeberha getting a job on SABC1 reality show Dance Yo Dumo as a dance master. He worked closely with different dance groups preparing them to perform for the judges. The 26-year-old is now also a rising social media influencer. With his fame growing, Jones has recently quit his software developer job to follow his heart.

“I had been employed by a company in SA and was contracted out to the UK for 2 years,” he says.

“But now I want to ride the social media wave. Being a social media influencer pays me better than a daily job. But it is not about money. It is about opportunities I get, like getting an opportunity to be part of Dance Yo Dumo. I was not going to get these opportunities if I was employed full-time.”

Jones's videos of his Asian family killing South African dance moves have caught the attention of TikTokkers. He tells Time Out that he is still wrapping his head around the newfound passion.

“I am very happy and everything is very new to me. I am still learning a lot as I go. I am fortunate that I have been meeting influential people. It is a quite a journey for me. For now I am just going with the flow.” 

He adds: “I feel proud to have been part of Dance Yo Dumo and I can’t believe that this all happened because of being on TikTok. Being part of Dance Yo Dumo taught me a lot in terms of dance and leadership skills. The first season of the show went well and I think there is room to improve the second season.”

When Jones started making dance videos last year, he had no clue what he was doing. Having discovered TikTok in the height of lockdown, he started creating the videos because his family was bored.

“I just wanted to have fun. Normally we are an active family and that includes my parents, my sister and two dogs. We play hockey and tennis together. I am a martial arts person and I have represented SA in karate in world championships in Argentina and Dubai.

"When we started I lied to my parents and said that no-one was watching us when we dance. I taught them how to dance. The next thing I see our videos are getting 150,000 views. Since then my followers have grown and we have close to 1.4m. It is weird that now I pay my parents and sister for being part of these videos.”

“I never been in a dance class, I am self-taught. I watch videos and start teaching myself. What has made things easier for me is that I have friends who are Xhosa and I love the SA music culture. Dance has always been a part of me, but I can’t say it was my dream or anything. I was brought up to finish my studies and get a job. I never saw myself in the industry or being where I am at the moment.”

Jones believes that SA has a lot of talent when it comes to dance and needs to use it to get the attention of the world.

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