If you’re like me, you may have asked yourself, what would American culture be without Black folks. It’s a hypothetical question. The answer is nothing. Not only did we build the infrastructure and economy of this nation, we shaped the entire culture as well, from the very beginning up until today. Even as the technology and vehicles for communication change and evolve, Black people still manage to dominate the conversation.
Still, for all of our contributions we rarely reap the rewards or even recognition for our brilliance. This is extremely apparent on the social media app Tik Tok. Black TikTokers have created not only the soundtrack but even the dance moves to some of the most popular social media content that exists today. But when it’s time for brands to pay up or for talk shows to feature these creatives, the Black folk get overlooked.
We saw it earlier this year when Jimmy Fallon used a white TikToker to underperform all the dances Black kids had created. He later attempted to correct the mistake by inviting the originators of the dances to perform via Zoom. Several Black TikTokers have complained about being offered pennies or nothing at all while their white counterparts–who utilize Black culture, are making thousands.
And apparently, the youth dem are tired of it.
One TikToker @theericklouis decided to create a video detailing what the app would look like without the contribution of Black folks.
He pretended he was going to choreograph a dance to Megan Thee Stallion’s “Thot Sh*t,” content that would have likely been duplicated and shared worldwide. But decided otherwise.
At the end, he captions the video, “Sike, this app would be nothing without Blk people.”
In an ironic and sad twist, white TikTokers have still copied Erik’s faux choreography, showing that even our protest is being duplicated.
Erik’s protest has caught on. And several other Black TikTokers are following in his footsteps. Apparently, the internet has taken notice and folks are struggling to come up with original content. We won’t turn this into a post making fun of the young and rhythmless but there are plenty of struggle videos to be seen on the app right now.
Thankfully, Black folk who aren’t even on TikTok support the movement, recognizing that taking control of our creative and intellectual property is long overdue.