Black creators on TikTok refuse to choreograph new dances and call out what they see as a new form of cultural appropriation on the app, which may sound as an odd news to all.
Rapper Megan Thee Stallion’s latest song, ‘Thot Shit,’ was supposed to be a TikTok hit. Her previous single ‘Savage’ had more than 22 million scores on the app. ‘WAP’ created 4m, and there were 1.5m for ‘Body.’
But this point, a social media strike staged by black originators on the viral-video-making stage has stopped many new singles from taking off. Black creators have declined to make a dance for the song and instead installed a digital walk-out.
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Since June, the hashtag BlackTikTokStrike has been observed more than 6.5m times on the app and has been trending on social media platforms like Twitter. Black users are using the hashtag to assert their grievances to what they say is favorable treatment. Black creators say non-black influencers handle their work, reaping the financial and personal gains earned from views, but fail to acknowledge or give credit to originators.
The strike is about recognizing and giving credit where it is anticipated. Black originators are not the only ones who remember. Rachel McKenzie, who is white, exercises TikTok daily and encourages the strike. Anyone that employs TikTok will tell you young black creators choreograph the vast majority, if not all, of the dances that go viral. If you glance at modern pop culture and its completeness, it’s just another instance of how black art sells and white people skyjack it.
Stretching viral on TikTok has been determined to have an influence far beyond prevalence. Some TikTok users have earned millions in revenue from their videos. Moreover, viral songs on TikTok have significantly affected the music industry, determining which songs become hits and making more streams and, therefore, more business for artists.
While the strike commenced with Megan Thee Stallion’s latest song, the dilemma has been highlighted before. In March, talk show performer Jimmy Fallon invited TikTok influencer Addison Rae, white, to his presentation. She performed diverse viral dances designed by black dancers who were not quoted or featured on air. One of the dances received lots of views on was the ‘Renegade’ – conceived by Jalaiah Harmon, a 14-year-old black TikToker. After Rae’s rendition of the dance, it started to trend. Even celebs recreated it. But while others became the dance features, Jalaiah struggled to receive credit or compensation since TikTok pays for views.
Since the immediate backlash, celebrities have strived to ensure Jalaiah was acknowledged for her creation. Finally, Fallon realized his mistake, inviting Jalaiah and many other black TikTokers to his show in April to voice the various unknown creators of viral choreography. As a result, Jalaiah made appearances on The Ellen Degeneres Show, was featured in a music video, and performed at an NBA All-Star game.
Over the past year, the TikTok teams have continued working to elevate and support Black voices and causes while fostering an inclusive environment on our platform and within our workplace. The company said it was training staff “better to understand more nuanced content like cultural appropriation and slurs” and endeavored to give users “tools to empower our community.” However, it has not approached the strike directly.
Advocates of the TikTok strike, sounding as an odd news, tell it isn’t just about the app. Names like the Kardashians, among many others, happily exploit black trends and behaviors that black scouts have been bothered for embracing. It boils down to the inconvenient and uncomfortable nature of confronting systemic racism head-on.
All see “obvious reluctance” from some TikTok influencers to give black creators credit as an example of “how comfortable a lot of white people are sitting in such a skewed exploitative power dynamic.