Black TikTok stars strike, demand credit score for his or her work | Leisure

Black TikTok stars are on strike, demanding recognition for their work

Megan Thee Stallion waves on the red carpet at the 63rd Grammy Awards in Los Angeles on March 14.

Whenever Megan Thee Stallion releases a new song, the floodgates of TikTok open. From “Cry Baby” to “Savage”, the social media app is crammed with multi-stage dances, complex challenges and various remixes. That is, until black creators decide not to make them anymore.

“Usually as soon as a Megan song comes out there is a dance that night, a dance within an hour,” TikToker Challan Trishann, who prefers to vote for Challan T., 22, recently told the Los Angeles Times. “But I [was] notice that there is no dance [for Stallion’s latest song].

“I scrolled and noticed everyone was rowing their arms under the sound,” she added, pointing out that TikTok users can find tons of videos playing and using the same audio or music by turning on the spinning Record in the lower right corner of. click a video.

Be it Keara Wilson’s “Savage” challenge, Layla Muhammad’s “Twerkulator” dance, or Jalaiah Harmon’s “Renegade”, Black creators have spawned some of the greatest phenomena on the internet.

However, as the movements become more widespread – and usurped by white faces – their origins are forgotten. While white influencers like Addison Rae make late night appearances on television shows, break records, and profit from reality series deals, black creators are left behind to ask for credit.

Tired of constant cultural and intellectual theft, the black makers of TikTok have been on strike since Juniteenth and refrain from dancing to Megan Thee Stallion’s latest single “Thot S—”.

Dance strike

Challan T., a recent transplant in Los Angeles, lives with fellow Black TikTokers in a house called The Crib Around the Corner. Finding the strike in force, the Barbadian native tweeted on June 20, “Just like nobody knows what to do…. because we won’t do any dances LMFOAJFKFOFK- FJFOFK ”

Challan T. said in an interview: “I made my tweet laugh … but I thought about it more and thought, no, this is a good thing that happened. I’m really glad that happened and I know it will make a difference somewhere, tiny or not. “

Cincinnati-born Keon Martin, 17, stumbled upon a video of white creators waving their arms from side to side as Stallion’s lyrics clearly said, “Hands on my knees, shaking a-, on my thot s-.” Then he made his own video making fun of her which received more than 368,000 likes.

“I just think this is very long overdue. When I first found out there was a strike, I was so amazed, ”Martin told the LA Times. “Black creators are simply fed up with our dances and our trends being stolen. We’re not given credit, but a white person can implement our trend and get out with 100,000 followers. “

The strike did not come out of nowhere. According to Erick Louis, a 21-year-old TikTok star, there was an ongoing discourse inspired by a text from “Black Barbies” by Nicki Minaj: “I’m af – Black Barbie, pretty face, perfect body.”

“If you click on a sound you can see all of the videos underneath, and it was literally a couple of white women singing that particular part,” said Louis. “All week long, a lot of people, especially black women, were just explaining that they were uncomfortable with the situation. It seemed like the whites weren’t ready to listen. There was a lot of gas lighting going on. “

Black exploitation

Two hours before midnight on Juneteenth, Louis posted a video that appeared to fuel the no-dance strike.

While “Thot S-” was playing in the background and the words “MADE A DANCE TO THIS SONG” lingered over his head, Lou-is got ready – and then waved both middle fingers in the air. The words above him changed to “SIKE. THIS APP WOULD NOT BE ANYTHING WITHOUT THE BLACK PEOPLE. “

“We set the trends … and if we get out of the equation … there’s nothing but mediocrity left,” Louis told the LA Times. “I can’t tell you how long it will take, but I think this is an indicator of how frustrated the black community is. I have a feeling this won’t be the last time something like this will happen. “

TikToker Herecia Grace recently released a video titled “Stay Strong Ladies! You can feel it! ”In support of the strike and joking about how difficult it is for her and her sisters not to dance to Megan Thee Stallion’s new song. The Illinois native grew her following by posting social commentary videos depicting black animation.

“The understanding that we don’t do dance was just so well known,” said the 23-year-old in an interview. “I have the feeling that we as Black women and Black people are so rhythmically involved. There is a movement that leads to everything. It was my personal fight, haha. “

The increased activism last summer resulted in TikTok users adding “#blm” to their bios and changing their profile pictures to fists. However, Louis said that many of his black-themed videos were removed overnight and black creators with millions of followers are still not verified on the app.

Louis said, “I know personally that this is a much broader issue outside of this digital colonization. TikTok has a really big problem with black leaders and anti-blackness. What has flown over people’s heads is the subject of labor exploitation in the app. “

“Without Black Creators, no things are created in this app. Pop culture really moves behind us when we move it, ”said Grace. “TikTok definitely decides what goes viral and I think they just don’t choose us. I think the beauty standards have something to do with it. “

Suppression of black content

There have been complaints that TikTok suppressed Black Lives Matter content following the murder of George Floyd, which TikTok said in a statement following a mishap.

“We value the experience of black creators on our platform and work every day to create a supportive environment for our community while creating a culture in which it is the norm to honor and recognize creators for their creative contributions “A TikTok spokesman said in a statement when it was reached by the LA Times this week.

On June 23, the company posted a blog post about its commitment to diversity and inclusion, saying that people can follow the recently launched @Black TikTok account. While Lou- is being told that the company has not yet contacted him personally regarding the strike, the makers want words to be translated into action.

Challan T., who has more than 4 million TikTok followers, said the platform needs to be more active in promoting and promoting black creators. In her experience, there have been several instances where she has not been credited with her work.

She said she often feels uncomfortable asking for credit from those who republish their content without credit because someone will inevitably push back – and that reluctance to acknowledge black creators comes from one thing.

“Racism,” says Challan T. with a laugh. “People just don’t want to give black people credit for the things we make. Because there are many times that a white creator performs a dance and I will see that credit in the caption every time. If it’s black, some people automatically void it, and they just don’t even want to try. “

Cultural appropriation

This lack of credit results in a familiar disappointment for black creators that transcends TikTok’s history and represents American pop culture. In September 2019, Georgian native Harmon created the original dance “Renegade”, but a month later the so-called Queen of TikTok, Charli D’Amelio, went viral for the dance.

It wasn’t until February 2020 that Harmon finally received credit after public outrage. On Tuesday, the actor Leslie Jordan introduced Harmon on his Instagram page and praised her for “Renegade”.

From reducing AAVE (African American Vernacular English) to Gen Z language on Saturday Night Live to Fortnite being accused of stealing popular dances from Black TikTok creators, cultural appropriation is rampant and has a tangible financial impact.

“I was hoping that people would see from this that without black people this app has no creativity. So maybe we should actually give them credit for creating these things instead of making it difficult. Credit can get you very far, like @yodelinghaley’s credits in Doja Cat’s music video [for ‘Say So’]”Said Challan T.

Grace would like to believe that embedding attribution into these platforms shouldn’t be that big of a deal, but that’s obviously not true. She wants TikTok to promote the content of black YouTubers on the #ForYou page, which recommends videos that are tailored to the interests of users, just as it does for white YouTubers.

While no one knows how long the strike will last – or whether TikTok will allay concerns with a short-lived #amplifyblackvoices hashtag and additional programming – black content creators agree that it is time TikTok proves it does Appreciates contributions and content of Black Creators.

“I would honestly hope [a strike] happens every now and then just to shake the table a bit because this time it seems it actually made a difference, “said Challan T.” People actually said, ‘Whoa, I didn’t know how much you guys? do it in the app. ‘”

Comments are closed.