The time has come: Black Tiktokers are finally taking a stand. Black Tiktokers are fed up with White creators stealing their dances and not crediting them.
“By Tuesday morning – almost one month on from the song’s release – there were around 487,000 videos on TikTok set to the song, but no dance trend has yet emerged.” This is evidence that Tiktok would not be what it is today if it hadn’t been for Black creators creating viral dances.
Black Creators Viral Dances
Above all, Tiktok has been known for viral dances, but Raven Maragh-Lloyd, an assistant professor of African and African American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, told DailyMail that “I think TikTok is in strange waters when it comes to appropriation.” I agree with this statement, and let me tell you why.
Renegade – dc: @jalaiah
Savage Savage – dc: @kekejanjah
Corvette Corvette – dc: @yvnggprince
Although these dances managed to go viral (but are we surprised), White creators still benefit from Black creators’ creativity. For example, White TikToker Charlie D’Amelio became one of the app’s most famous teen stars when she performed the viral Renegade dance to K-Camp’s hit Lottery. After that, the video went viral. However, months later the conclusion was that she was not the one behind the dance. Instead, Jalaiah Harmon created the dance, yet received no credit. This sparked a huge uproar on the app.
That same year, D’Amelio and Rae also benefited from the hit dance: Savage by Megan Thee Stallion ft. Beyonce. “The choreography was created by Black TikToker Keara Wilson, who – like Harmon – failed to receive credit for her work in the majority of videos that were posted.”
What made it was was that Raw had the opportunity, and not Black creators, to be on The Tonight Shower with Jimmy Fallon show to perform several virl TikTok dances. As a result, those who watched the show called Jimmy Fallon out, and soon after, the show included the original dances underneath the video.
Now, “The recent dance boycott by Black creators appears to have been initiated by Eric Louis, a 21-year-old TikTok star who posted a video on June 17. This was set to the tune of Megan Thee Stallion’s newest hit. “Eric posted the clip with the caption: ‘If y’all do the dance pls tag me, it’s my first dance on Tiktok and I don’t need nobody stealing/not crediting.’ In the video, he made it appear as if he was going to make a dance but suddenly “flips the bird at the camera while the words above him change to: ‘SIKE. THIS APP WOULD BE NOTHING WITHOUT BLACK PEOPLE.'”
As of Tuesday morning, this video marked the beginning of the strike with the support of Megan Thee Stallion. We are not sure when the strike will subside, but what we do know is that Tiktok needs to change its algorithm because in the words of Eric Louis: ‘What’s kind of flown over people’s heads is this issue concerning the exploitation of labor on the app.’ Black creators are being used for their creativity only to sit on the sidelines and watch White creators get the spotlight. It’s not fair.
Featured Photo Credit: Diego Rosa