TikTok Is Boosting Black Content material Creators
Bran Movay is a finalist for the TikTok for Black Creatives program.
In a 30-second TikTok video, 23-year-old Bran Movay gives users an insight into his everyday life: recording music in a colorful studio, creating different designs on his laptop and creating original sounds on his piano.
The short video served as Movay’s application for a new program hosted by the popular social media app to aid black creators following the criticism they censored with the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter and #GeorgeFloyd last summer.
Movay’s submission was one of 5,000 submissions TikTok received in just 24 hours and was selected as one of 100 finalists for the TikTok for Black Creatives program.
Movay, who recently moved to Los Angeles from Dallas to pursue his career as a record producer and graphic artist, said the three-month program that was launched last month proved helpful.
“I think it’s a great opportunity for me to learn some new things and tricks and really use the connections I make,” he said.
TikTok, which was launched in 2016 and has offices in multiple locations across the United States, including Culver City, was the second most downloaded non-gaming mobile app in the world in January, according to Sensor Tower Inc.
The social media company launched TikTok for Black Creatives in February in collaboration with Macro, a multimedia platform that represents people with color. Together, the companies created a 12-week mentoring program to help developers network and receive career advice from entertainment executives.
At the recent city hall appearances, actresses Gabrielle Union-Wade and Marsai Martin gave tips on goal setting and building strong brand awareness.
Other social media platforms have launched similar initiatives. Facebook and Instagram recently pledged $ 25 million to help black developers, and YouTube has a multi-year commitment fund called # YouTube-BlackVoices.
TikTok has not disclosed how much it is spending on the program and has not responded to interview requests.
However, 23-year-old Marcel Williams described the program as a “great first step”. He was one of hundreds of black content creators last summer accusing TikTok of suppressing or removing content that shared information about Black Lives Matter.
“I remember making informational videos about the Black Lives Matter protests or about George Floyd, and I have a couple of violations,” Williams said. “I was tagged for hate speech when the reality was that asking the community to come together was nothing but positive.”
Williams said he was excited to see the program roll out and believed it had the potential to spark change in the app for black developers.
“When TikTok takes this step, it shows that they are really listening … and that they are not shy about the situation,” he said.
For many developers, TikTok is more than a platform for activism. It’s also an opportunity to build your brand – and ultimately your business. When you’re on a platform the size of TikTok, developers can gain a global following with the prospect of new business opportunities or the chance to be “discovered”.
Robert Lucas, 27, another finalist participating in the program, is a self-taught cake artist. He gained more than 980,000 followers in his first three months at TikTok.
“I hope this program will help me open my eyes to what else I can do, and I hope it will also bring more black creators to the fore so other companies or people can notice us.”
Movay is also a relative newcomer to TikTok who joined in late last year to release snippets of their music, show off their designs, and connect with fans.
“I take what I learn and apply it to my career as an artist,” he said.
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