Most of his followers know him by his Instagram account user name: 1NegLakay, but he answers to the name Wesley when he’s around his family and friends. On his popular social media account, he shares funny memes about Haitian culture, funny quotes, and his 40,000+ followers absolutely love his Instagram hustle—so much so that a photo or a meme that he posts can easily get more than 200 likes within minutes. This is influencer gold in the digital space, thank you very much. Noting his popularity, Wesley has created several other spin-off accounts, and created an online retail store called Sizo.
Kreyolicious: What made you start your Instagram account?
1NegLakay: This is account was created as a way to keep in touch with the Haitian Community through jokes and humor. It was created around the time Zoe Poze , Mr_509 and Chelo_Chelo were blowing up. But everybody was just doing videos and no one was really doing Haitian memes. So I got together with my cousins and I said, “Lets create a page, we will do Haitian memes. We will post them and hopefully they will go viral.” I think when we started, the page only had 500 followers but in no time, the memes made it popular and before we know it, we were at 10k then 20k then 30k and now we are at 40k. We wanted to reach the Haitian community in a different way and we are thankful that we have come this far.
Kreyolicious: When did you realize you were getting extremely popular?
1NegLakay: I realized [this] when I would go on my timeline, just to browse. I realized [that] a lot of people were reposting the memes and videos we were posting. And whenever people would find something on another page, they would tag us in it so we can repost it. And also, when people were making their funny videos they would share them with us, so we can repost them cause they knew they would get more views, likes and comments. This one instance, I went to this Haitian restaurant and I saw these two girls looking at their phones and they were laughing and tearing up, and when I was about to get my food, I glanced at their phones to see what they were laughing at. It was our page and I was like “Wow”, mama we made it.” [Laughter] And seeing that really humbled us cause we realize we were helping people laugh because we didn’t expect to have such a major impact.
Kreyolicious: What are your memories growing up Haitian?
Wow, that is actually my favorite question. I remember going to school, wearing my uniform and then after school is over, I couldn’t wait to go home to play soccer with my friends. Then, I would have to do my homework because that’s the first thing my parents would check when they get home. I really miss the school experience. But I would have to say some of my best experiences and memories come from my parents [Laughter] because they were very strict to the point I thought they were crazy. [Laughter] I remember when I used to get in trouble my mom would put me “ajenou” [kneel] and I would think that’s it right but after I’m done I would have to get a baton and I would be like “Wait, why am I being punished twice for the same thing?” [Laughter] But now that I’m older, I realize she was just doing it out of love, they didn’t want me to be a vakabon [good for nothing], so I’m grateful for that. I also loved summer time in Haiti. I grew up on King Posse, Original Rap Staff. I love those guys. I also loved to “teke mab” [play with marbles] and fly my kite with my friends. It was just an amazing time. I would not trade it for the world. I truly have some great memories from my childhood in Haiti.
This concludes PART I of the interview with Wesley, better known as 1NegLakay. Be on the lookout for PART II.