June 24, 2021

Why Black TikTokers Are Going on Strike?

What’s happening?

Black content creators are tired. Tired of having their content on Instagram, Youtube, and Tiktok generate millions for the platforms—yet receiving little to no recognition, attribution, and of course, adequate financial compensation.

So while white TikTokers receive national attention and praise for dance trends, the Black creators of these viral dances are ignored. The community often takes to Twitter to call out the many instances where original creators of viral dances, many of whom are Black, receive no credit.

This is not a new problem

  • Jimmy Fallon invited white TikToker, Addison Rae to perform all the dances Black kids had created on TheTonight Show. He did later correct the mistake by asking the originators of the dances to perform via Zoom.
  • Several Black TikTokers have complained to the platform about receiving very little financial compensation while their white counterparts–who use Black culture, are making thousands.
  • Remember the Renegade dance? It was the viral dance hit from the 14-year-old creator, Jalaiah Harmon. It became one of the biggest things on the internet, but she received zero credit or recognition at first. Addison Rae, along with other white TikTokers were invited to perform the famous Renegade dance during the NBA All-Star Dunk Contest.

The truth of the matter is Black creators, and people of color carry the app.

Enough is Enough

Black TikToker Erik (@theericklouis) has had enough. Posted on his TikTok, he pretended to choreograph a dance to Megan Thee Stallion’s new song “Thot Sh*t,” content that would likely be replicated and shared globally across multiple platforms.  Only this time he did something different —he did nothing at all. The caption reads, “Sike, this app would be nothing without Blk people.”

This started a trend —#blacktiktokstrike

Several other Black TikTokers are following in his footsteps with faux choreography. Now a larger group of Black creators on the video-sharing platform have stopped releasing new dance content and are using the hashtag #blacktiktokstrike. Because Black creation and culture tends to dominate the internet, other content creators are seemingly struggling to come up with original content. The internet is taking notice as viral-worthy content on the popular platform is drying up. Many are voicing their support for Black creatives on Twitter.  

Taking control of our creative and intellectual property is long overdue. In an effort to combat the erasure and stealing of content from Black TikTokers, dancers, artists, and creatives, celebrity choreographer JaQuel Knight launched Knight Choreography & Music Publishing, Inc. to copyright dance moves and protect intellectual property.

Black Tiktokers are going silent on the platform —so what is TikTok going to be without the contribution of Black folks?

Keisha Morant

A freelance writer with a passion for telling impactful tech stories online.

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