Black TikTok Creators Say They’re Going on Strike

TikTok video app
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Black TikTok choreographers have gone on strike, vowing not to create any new dances on the platform until they get credit for their work. They claim TikTok users of other races have been taking dance moves created by black users, and have apparently gained millions of followers and recognition as a result.

The hashtag, “BlackTikTokStrike” has been viewed more than two million times on TikTok, as black dancers on the social media platform refrain from creating more content, which they believe is being taken by white users who have gotten popular by imitating their moves, according to a report by NPR.

One video — which has been viewed more than 450,000 times — shows black TikTok creator Erick Louis seemingly about to introduce a new dance before, giving the camera the middle finger alongside a caption, which reads, “Sike. This app would be nothing without [black] people.”

Even that post of Louis giving the camera the middle finger was taken and imitated by TikTok users, who garnered more views, he said.

“Come on now, it wasn’t even a dance — it wasn’t even a dance, and y’all took that shit and ran with it, and it got 900K views,” Louis lamented in a follow-up video.

This is not the first time black TikTok users have called out what they say is white users getting preferential treatment from the platform.

In March, NBC’s Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon host Jimmy Fallon invited TikTok star Addison Rae Easterling to perform eight of her viral TikTok dances on his show. Easterling, however, was not the original creator for any of the dances from her viral videos.

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Following backlash, Fallon later invited the creators of the dances onto his show — Mya Nicole Johnson, Chris Cotter, Dorien Scott, Fur-Quan Powell, Camyra Franklin, Adam Snyder, Nate Nale, Greg Dahl, and Keara Wilson.

“We recognize that the creators of those dances deserve to have their own spotlight,” Fallon said during the segment.

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Fallon’s episode featuring Easterling was not the only example of controversy involving white TikTok users receiving recognition for dances they did not create.

Last year, the NBA reportedly invited “three of the most famous young ladies on all of TikTok” — Easterling, and siblings Charli and Dixie D’Amelio — to NBA All-Star Weekend, where the trio scored prime seats, sat for interviews, and were even asked to dance on the court.

It isn’t too difficult to grasp why the young women would be given such recognition, though, as they do, in fact, have three of the most popular TikTok accounts on the social media platform.

Charli D’Amelio currently has the most popular TikTok account on the site, with a staggering total of 119.1 million followers. Meanwhile, Easterling’s account has garnered a total of 81.7 million followers, with Dixie D’Amelio’s account at 52.8 million followers.

“TikTok is a special place because of the diverse and inspiring voices of our community, and our black creators are a critical and vibrant part of this,” a TikTok spokesperson said in a statement to NPR, responding to the black TikTok choreographers having gone on strike.

“We care deeply about the experience of black creators on our platform and we continue to work every day to create a supportive environment for our community while also instilling a culture where honoring and crediting creators for their creative contributions is the norm,” the spokesperson added.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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