Keraun Harris, better known as King Keraun on social media, is a Houston-born actor, comedian, and Instagram star who’s appeared on Insecure and Black-ish. But his rise to social media stardom was a bumpy one.
Harris was born on January 17th, as the eldest of five children of Derrick Harris, a former NFL player which fueled Keraun’s own dreams of being in the league. But he tore his ACL and began on a dark path of robbery and petty theft. In 2009, Harris served a two-and-a-half year term for robbery and credit card abuse convictions in federal prison.
When he got out, the young southern native, now ex-con, had a baby on the way. He began working a job specifically for felons, working with chemicals in oil fields for $10 an hour.
Harris said the job made his nose bleed. He soon quit because he couldn’t take it anymore, and began posting funny videos online to pass the time as he looked for another job.
Harris’ funny videos paid off. His short videos on Instagram (which only allowed videos to be 15 seconds in length) about relationships, family and football brought him to the attention of media mogul Russell Simmons who eventually became his mentor. Harris massed more than 1.4 million Instagram followers, 1.8 million Facebook likes, and more than 100 million Vine loops. He used his newfound celebrity status to advertise for multiple companies seeking to use new media to promote their products.
“Now, I look at it like a blessing,” Harris said, “because it brought me to where I am now. It made me desperate. I said whether I’m gonna be broke, or I’m gonna be a millionaire.”
“Not having any other options, being a five time felon, made me dig deep and go as hard as I could go,” Harris said. “People started following me. Before I knew it, it got real.”
“Felons also think that ‘when I get out, I’m gonna always be king,'” Harris continues. “But when you get out and reality sets in, it’s always the darkest moment.”
And he’s not lying. Looking at many of the stats from those who have done time, nearly 50% become repeat offenders to get back in prison. Many often citing depression from not being able to get a job, family issues, or just adjusting to life on their own after being inside for a certain period of time.
Keraun has also been blessed to partner with other social media stars. One star in particular, Simone Shepherd has his heart both professionally and personally as the two have started dating. They frequent each others videos and are making money together.
While all the details of the amounts aren’t known, we do know that in 2014, sponsored posts on Vine could earn a star anywhere from $10,000 to $100,000. We can only imagine what Instagram and Facebook personalities get nowadays (translation: Mo’ money, mo’ money, mo’ money!).
The pairs future plans include organic product integration and moving away from…