The online fundraising effort to help the family of a popular teenage social media personality who was killed earlier this week has exceeded its goal after talk show host Wendy Williams controversially addressed his death with her audience.
Matima Miller, a 19-year-old who was better known to his nearly 3 million followers on TikTok as “Swavy,” died Monday morning from a gunshot wound in Wilmington, Delaware. The circumstances of the shooting were not immediately known as local news outlets have reported that their questions about Swavy’s death have gone unanswered.
But a GoFundMe account that was started on Wednesday reached and then exceeded its goal of $20,000 by Friday morning, one day after a video of Williams went viral for the way she spoke about Swavy’s killing on her show.
By all indications, Swavy, who was known for his social media videos that typically showcased his dancing prowess, brought his loyal legion of followers great joy. “The impact he had on others remains unmatched,” the GoFundMe said in part about Swavy.
So it was curious to see how Williams broached the topic of his death on her show; a style that was promptly criticized for being callous, coldhearted and woefully unsympathetic about a young Black man killed by the scourge of gun violence that is spiking across the country.
“I have no idea who this person is … neither does one person in this building,” Williams said at the start of her segment about Swavy before she lamented that he has more social media followers than she does. Her staff egged her on and laughed at her words. She asked her audience to clap if anyone knew who Swavy was, to which there was no real applause.
Williams then turned around to look at a photo of Swavy behind her, saying simply, “so there he is,” as the audience cackled before she blurted out with her patented wide-eyed look: “He’s 19, and he was murdered Monday morning.”
The online backlash was swift.
One response to the tweeted video of Williams went viral and summarized the outrage neatly.
“Wait. This was how she chose to lead the segment talking about this young man’s death?” the Twitter user asked before adding: “this wasn’t cool at all. I don’t know this man, but may he rest in peace. I’m sorry his friends and family had to see this. Wow…”
Meanwhile, the investigation into Swavy’s death continues. Local news outlet Delaware Online reported that Swavy’s neighbors refused to comment and there was no answer at his home. The Wilmington Police Department is encouraging anyone with information about Swavy’s death to come forward and said in a brief press release that “further details will be released when possible.”
The GoFundMe said, “we are not able to provide much information on the events surrounding his passing” because of legal restrictions. But, it said, “the family is working diligently to get justice for Swavy. This is just the beginning.”
It added: “We will forever keep his name alive and continue his legacy!”