Black TikTok Creators Launched Strike to Call out Exploitation, Cultural Appropriation
By: Alyssa Wilson
Black creators on TikTok were on strike in an effort to get recognition for creating viral dance trends seen on social media that white creators have taken without credit. According to Mashable, the strike furthered the debate over cultural appropriation online.
Megan Thee Stallion released a new song that has been used more than 150,000 times on TikTok. Despite the success on the platform and millions of streams on Spotify, no dance trend has taken off on social media as Black creators intentionally decided to stop developing and posting choreography.
The way nobody knows what to do…. because we won’t make dances LMFOAJFKFOFKFJFOFK
— Challan (@challxn) June 20, 2021
TikTokker Jazmine Moore said, “We observed over the years on TikTok that most dances on the app are originated by Black creators. And creators who aren’t Black will water it down to do the bare minimum of the dance and claim it as their own.”
Jalaiah Harmon, the 14-year-old TikTokker who created the viral “Renegade” dance, did not get viral recognition for her creativity, while white TikTokkers received brand sponsorships and fame from performing her choreography. Notably, white TikTok star Addison Rae performed several viral dance trends on The Tonight Show, and the show faced backlash for not crediting a single Black creator.
Some of the most viral TikTok dances made by Black creators include:
- The Renegade by Jalaiah Harmon
- The Git Up by Ajani Huff and Davonte House
- Savage by Keara Wilson
- Out West Challenge by Nicole Bloomgarden
- Corvette Corvette by Yvnggprince
The strike and attention to the issue highlights a pattern of exploitation Black creators in multiple avenues face.
The TikTok strike truly is amazing b/c it shows not only how US pop culture is built on stealing from Black people, but how the music industry depends on this cycle of theft & white washing in order to monetize the music.
— DEFUND & ABOLISH POLICE, REFUND OUR COMMUNITIES (@BreeNewsome) June 24, 2021
According to TechCrunch, TikTok responded to the strike by saying, “We care deeply about the experience of Black creators on our platform and we continue to work every day to create a supportive environment for our community while also instilling a culture where honoring and crediting creators for their creative contributions is the norm.”