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Black TikTokers are striking to fight appropriation of their creative work

Posted by Jennifer Adetoro in News

1 year ago

Many Black creators on TikTok are refusing to create dances to Megan Thee Stallion’s single Thot Shit in an effort to highlight how often their dances are appropriated by the app’s white creators without receiving any sort of credit.

It all started when Black TikToker Erick Louis posted a video pretending to make a dance video to Thot Shit. However, in the closed captions, Louis wrote “Sike. This app would be nothing without BLK people.” After this, a flood of other creators shared their input and soon enough #BlackTikTokStrike was trending on Twitter where many have praised the creators for taking a stand against the cause.

In the past couple of years, TikTok dancers have become crucial in driving the songs of musicians into viral phenomenons. It was a method that helped Megan Thee Stallion earn her first number one spot on the US Billboard Hot 100 with her single Savage (Remix) featuring Beyoncé and also catapult TikTok maven Doja Cat into the mainstream. However, with its growing popularity has come a series of incidents where the work of Black creators has been overshadowed by some of TikTok’s biggest stars.

In 2019, 14-year-old Jalaiah Harmon’s dance The Renegade went viral. Yet, no one knew she was the mastermind behind it. Instead, TikTokers Addison Rae and Charli D’Amelio became the face of the dance. Similarly again, in March, Rae appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and performed multiple TikTok dances, most of which were created by Black dancers, without crediting them.

Black TikTokers are working together and using this strike to cultivate change. And while there’s no talk on how long the strike will last for, it has definitely sparked a much needed conversation about cultural appropriation on social media. Read our comment piece on this here.

By Jennifer Adetoro, culture editor of CORQ. Picture credit: Erick Louis via TikTok.