Shermann “Dilla” Thomas
“What’s up? It’s your favorite neighborhood historian, Dilla.” Photograph: Shermann “Dilla” Thomas

Who: Shermann “Dilla” Thomas, Chicago historian
TikTok Handle: @6figga_dilla
Followers: 64,000

How he got started: In late 2020, while helping his daughter shoot videos, Thomas tried to prompt her into reciting historical facts. She wouldn’t, so he decided to do it himself. Thomas’s interest in history comes from his father, a Chicago police officer who refused to take expressways because Black communities were destroyed to build them.

Post that went viral: “It was a string of three [videos] I put out in three days. I did one on how Mayor [Anton] Cermak put a hit on [gangster] Frank Nitti. I was getting 4,000, 5,000 views before, and then that video got 80,000. This happened at the top of 2021.”

From social media to nationwide fame: On November 2, Thomas talked about his videos on The Kelly Clarkson Show.