The social media influencer as LGBTQ advocate

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8/28/21

The diverse surfaces of the social media platforms have never been as eye-catching, intriguing and addictive as it is now in the convergent hands of the millennials and the Gen Z generation. Put in here and there by force of circumstance the equally TikTok-savvy, albeit vanishing, post- World War 2 generation baby boomers. The digital age, however, comes with it the pluses and minuses of the post-industrial boom. Like a novel Trojan Horse, it has bred evil schemers who have misappropriated the invention for its pecuniary value to advance their hidden agendas; they are called professional social media trolls, fake newsmakers and source of disinformation. At the opposite end of the spectrum are the growing variant of the newly born 4th Estate whose balanced commentaries have earned for themselves the reputation as reliable social med and online broadcast journalists. One notable example is Michael “Mike” Abe, leading commentator of free-to-air news and public affairs TV network SMNI News Channel. Arguably, the rest of our local social media influencers are lording over the chunk of TikTok eager beavers and followers worldwide. Just the past week, local showbiz was abuzz with the name of top social media influencer and first Mr. Gay World title holder Wilbert Tolentino signing up into his stable of talents Daisy Lopez famously or infamously known as “Madam Inutz” (for ‘inutil’). She is a phenomenal online seller of apparels on YouTube who is a self-confessed dirt poor ugly duckling given to unabashed sexual innuendos. TV host Jessica Soho in fact has sensationalized her as well. Vulgarity and pronouncement of abject poverty perhaps also sell to keep one economically afloat during the pandemic time. Even her nonchalant use of cuss words can make President Rodrigo Duterte blush in shame, and this has made her a darling among transgressors of social conventions sustained by her ever growing million followers. To this end, Wilbert who is himself a phenomenal social media influencer in his own right thinks Madam Inutz can help advance his advocacy to reach out to and raise funds for contestants and their families who had lost their means of livelihood due to the resurgence of the volatile Covid-19 pandemic. Starting with more than 1.6 million subscribers that entitled him a YouTube gold play button plaque, Wilbert has put up his own multiple online reality competitions for drag queens, gay and male contestants, social media influencers, entertainment media, pageant organizers, pet owners, singers, songwriters, dance artists, etc. To the less informed Wilbert, a doting dad to an only son now five years old, was the first openly gay Filipino man to compete in 2009 Mr. Gay World International at Whistler, Canada. He was adjudged Mr. Gay Popularity, Best in National Costume, Best in Formal Wear, and Sports Challenge Winner. Now a top notch multi-hyphenated businessman-pageant organizer-philanthropist, Wilbert Tolentino is at the forefront of LGBTQ advocacy in the country.

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