You Don’t Know Jay Sean

For two decades, the British artist had a carefully curated image. Then, he got on TikTok.

Jay Sean laughing
Jay Sean (courtesy of Jay Sean)

Dhruva Balram


May 23, 2022


9 min

British pop star Jay Sean is brushing his teeth. It’s an everyday activity that fans likely have never seen the star do, but Sean takes it one step beyond a simple “stars, they’re just like us” moment. First, he brushes his teeth quietly (“most ppl brushing their teeth,” he captions) and then cuts to the “Brown ppl” version, with a symphony of brushing, gagging, and spitting noises. The video goes on to include his reenactment of the South Asian version of parents calling kids to the phone and the typical lengthy goodbyes to guests at the door. 

This is one of Sean’s many TikTok videos, which he started making during the pandemic, and has more than one million views. 

“TikTok provides a platform for my true personality to be out there,” Sean said of his recent fascination with the short video social media platform. When we connect on Zoom, he’s lounging in his New York City home a week after flying back from India, where he performed a three-city tour to Mumbai, Delhi, and Bengaluru. He’s jetlagged, but doesn’t let it show with his friendly, easy-going demeanor. The trip gave him more TikTok ideas for an account that has already garnered 4.6 million likes and nearly 450,000 followers. 

After more than two decades in the spotlight — during which he collaborated with the likes of Sean Paul, Lil Wayne, and Pitbull and delivered hit songs like “Down,” “Stolen,” and “Ride It” — Sean is now using TikTok to share a more authentic, often hilarious, side of himself. Through it all, Jay Sean has always made South Asians feel like they belong.

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