Khalid Al Ameri is an Emirati YouTuber, columnist and social analyst with ‘The National’ newspaper, speaking on such issues as social/personality development, entrepreneurship and employment in the Arab region.
Each video is conceptualised and written by him, with ample support from Salama. The most successful video they have done to date is titled ‘What happens without a mother’. It focused on the life of working mothers, and garnered over 27 million views.
Another titled ‘When Muslims celebrate Christmas’ went on to make headlines in newspapers for nurturing communal harmony. ‘Just being able to tell the world that in a Muslim country, we have four churches around a mosque, and that a particular mosque is called “Mary mother of Jesus”. That, for me, shows how the UAE embraces every religion and culture and allows people to celebrate their faith so openly.’
Born and raised in Abu Dhabi to an Emirati father and Scottish mother, Khalid credits his grounded nature to his upbringing. ‘My family comes from a very humble background. My mom and dad met in the UK where my dad was finishing his graduate studies. My mom worked in an old person’s home for a year to save up for tickets to visit Abu Dhabi,’ he says.
After taking up different administrative jobs, in 2011 Khalid left for the US to pursue an MBA at Stanford University. The electives he chose were digital media and publishing, and he quickly realised that making videos was his true calling. Returning to the UAE, he made small Snapchat videos on life, relationships, work and career and tasted modest success.
Fast forward to 2016, when one of his videos made the cut. Invited by CNN Abu Dhabi to do a series of videos on the misconceptions surrounding Ramadan, they went on to become instant hits – convincing Khalid ‘that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life’.
Khalid then decided to do a series of short videos that would help spread messages about love, peace, tolerance, acceptance – topics the common man could relate to. ‘It would be the first time an Emirati had done a show like this,’ he says. ‘I pitched it to every TV station but they all turned it down. Since I didn’t have any other choice, I took to Facebook.’
Within one year, he amassed a viewership of 1.7 million people. Following the success, Khalid quit his full-time corporate job, deciding to make videos on a daily basis. ‘I haven’t taken a day off since then,’ he says, preparing to pose for our photographer.