We love an honest food review!
Keith Lee is TikTok’s newest star, the married father of two garnering a massive following of more than 11.2 million on the social app. Lee regularly posts heartwarming content of him and his family, connecting with his audience over past struggles and transparency posts. But what Lee is best known for is his food reviews, which have often gone viral and had a bit of an Oprah effect for businesses that are small or Black-owned. Earlier this year, Lee’s review of a small Las Vegas food truck called Southern Taste Seafood helped the business to earn $30,000 in just 24 hours, Black Enterprise reports. Now he’s back again, helping a Black-owned chocolate brand sell out in 33 minutes.
Ella Livingston is the founder of Cocoa Asante, an artisanal chocolate brand that sources his products from Ghana. Unbeknownst to Lee, Livingston had been hoping to get her product to him for a review, turns out, he had already ordered some of her items and had recorded a taste testing for his millions of followers.
@keith_lee125 #stitch with @cocoaasante Cocoa Asante taste test would you try it ? #foodcritic ♬ original sound – Keith Lee
Lee prefaced the review by saying he wasn’t much of a sweets person but still wanted to give it a try to see how it was. He also made sure to note that he never asks small businesses for free products or charge promotional fees, noting that it only took him three days to receive his items despite ordering standard shipping. He then began his review with the packaging, which Lee was quite impressed with.
“This package screams luxury, money,” Lee exclaimed.
He then began with a tasting of the brand’s milk chocolate bon-bons, giving them a rating of 8.5 out of 10. Visibly blown away, he moved to the next product, the Chai Pecan Caramel bon-bons, Lee’s personal favorite which he rated a whopping 9.5 out of 10. Not only did he say they were delicious, but he stopped to remind viewers that again, he was not working with Livingston, but after tasting the chocolate, he hoped that they could.
“I’m telling you I’m about to eat this whole box…I love when sweets are balanced. It is salty, it is nutty, that chocolate got the perfect snap on it,” said Lee.
@keith_lee125 #stitch with @cocoaasante Cocoa Asante 36 hour update would you try it ? God Is Amazing #foodcritic ♬ original sound – Keith Lee
The video continued on to her blood orange bon-bons before Lee began reviewing the brand’s chocolate bars but by then, the orders had already begun rolling in. After Lee’s tasting review of Livingston’s products, it took exactly 33 minutes for her to sell out, a feat even Lee said he can’t believe.
“At the beginning of November of last year, I had 1.5 million followers. I gained over 10 million followers since then…This is still new to me and it’s crazy and it be blowing my mind…I got imposter syndrome, I don’t think none of this is real. I’m not humble, I’m delusional,” Lee laughed in an updated post.
Livingston made her own update post, thanking Lee and revealing that because of his review, she is now able to quit her part-time job and make plans to focus on her business permanently.
“Cocoa Asante is forever changed because we got so many orders. I can now afford to pay myself something so that I don’t have to work part-time to bring in income for my home. So Keith you have officially retired me from being a teacher,” said Livingston.
@cocoaasante These results are unbelievable! Thank you everyone for the support!! @keith_lee125 #cocoaasante ♬ original sound – Cocoa Asante
While the site is still being bombarded with orders, Livingston has found a way to manage, opening up pre-orders for her popular chocolates. While the site now boasts wait times of as long as six weeks, it seems to be all worth it to support a business with an impeccable product and an even better origin story.
Congratulations Ella and please keep it going Keith! Because of you both, we can!
TikTok influencer Keith Lee helps Black-owned chocolate brand sell out in 33 minutes/Photo Courtesy of @Keith_Lee125/TikTok