Image: Getty Images
Tiktok is one of the most in-demand apps on the market. The Chinese owned app reigns as the destination for dance challenges, hilarious videos, and where the fate of music is tested. Even music artists tend to record a quick song that’ll trend on Tiktok which will land them a spot on the Billboard Top 100. Even though Tiktok is revolutionary in entertainment, what about the black creators who carry the app on their backs?
Music artists like Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B, Nicki Minaj, Sza, Pop Smoke, Drake, and City Girls have collectively had at least two of their songs become a popular dance on Tiktok. Doja Cat and Megan Thee Stallion have undoubtedly used their success on TikTok to pioneer their way into mainstream success. Even though these artists made millions from their songs on the platform, black creators tend to be left in the dust.
Tiktok’s viral dances are 80% of the time choreographed by a black creator. These talented creators mostly are from America, but their talent is recognized on a global effort. A Tiktok user, commonly aged 13-17, will dance to a fun audio they hear on their ‘For You Page.’ This user will either post it or save it to their drafts, but they most likely not know that the dance they love is created by a black person.
Black creators like Jalaiah Harmon and Keara Wilson are one of the most recognizable Tiktok dancers. Jalaiah Harmon is the creator of the most popular Tiktok dance, “Renegade.” Keara Wilson is the creator of Meg Thee Stallion’s hit song, “Savage.” Jalaiah Harmon did not receive her recognition until being featured into a major news outlet. Millions of people thought that the dance was made by Addison Rae or Charli D’Amelio. Addison Rae got the dance to dance to “Renegade” at All Star Weekend and many other events attended by A-list celebrities. In addition, Charli D’Amelio gained millions of followers and dollars while people thought she made the dance too. Even though Rae and D’Amelio never took credit for the dance, nobody really knew who the originator of the complex choreography.
After Addison Rae and Jimmy Fallon received a mass amount of backlash for performing dances created by Black Tiktok innovators. None of the dances, performed by Addison Rae, was credited during the segment. After the thousands of comments on YouTube, Tiktok, Instagram, and Twitter, Jimmy Fallon credited the dancers the next episode. This moment was the turning point for Black Tiktok dancers. They realized that the entertainment industry made non-black creators comfortable without giving credit.
Whenever directors direct a project, their name is always shown in the credits. I can imagine the pain that these tiktokers face. Seeing the Addison Rae’s, Bryce Hall’s, Vinnie Hacker’s, and Dixie D’Amelio’s getting experiences that one would dream of is heart wrenching for Black tiktokers. Black creators tend to be paid less, treated like an object, and most of the time taken advantage of.
Thankfully Harmon has landed opportunities as being featured in Forbes, working with global brand, and being of the cover of Teen Vogue. Keara Wilson had the chance to be the star in the “Savage” lyric video and work with some cool brands as well. On the other hand, black creators deserve to shine like the music artists they help to make residual income.
Black Tiktok creators are finally realized their worth, and decide they are taking a break from the app. Megan Thee Stallion’s song, “Thot Sh*t” was supposed to be another Tiktok hit under her belt, but these influential dancers are realized it’s time for them to feel appreciated. Megan Thee Stallion is a talented artists who benefitted from Tiktok, but she has not appreciated the art that these creators create. Instead of labels paying non-black creators thousands of dollars to dance to a Tiktok, that money needs to go to the creators of these dances. Art only becomes appreciated when it becomes limited, and it is time for the entertainment industry to realize this.
Instead of Tiktok dancers filming a quick video with the music artists and labels they help, these creators deserve residuals from the songs they help to blow up. While music artists are seen living a luxurious life, many black creators struggle to even gain attention in the media.
The hashtag BlackTiktokStrike has gone viral on social media with over 6 million views on Tiktok. This strike will show the entertainment industry, music artists, and even brands that black excellence is here to stay, but only with recognition. Non-black creators gain financial and personal gains due to the talent of Black creators. The art that Black creators innovate is amazing, but it can only exists with changes to be made.