Infuriated by this trend, a movement of Black TikTok artists has effectively called a creative strike: A new single from Megan Thee Stallion is burning up the Internet, and they’re refusing to make any new dances for it.
“I’m so here for the #BlackTikTokStrike,” Twitter user Zakiya Soleil wrote Tuesday. “All these influcers making bank off copying black creaters. Let it last all summer. Respect and pay black creaters!!!”
I’m so here for the #BlackTikTokStrike. Funny how all the non blk tik tokers forget how to dance and havent come up with anything since it started. All these influcers making bank off copying black creaters. Let it last all summer. Respect and pay black creaters!!!
— Zakiya Soleil (@ZakiyaSoleil) June 22, 2021
Black creatives have long expressed frustrations about their work being misappropriated.
In 2018, Epic Games was sued after being accused of stealing popular dances from the rapper 2 Milly and other Black artists, and turning them into digital animations for characters in the video game Fortnite. (The lawsuit was later dropped). Two years later, TikTok apologized to “our Black creators and community who have felt unsafe, unsupported, or suppressed” after the company was accused of censoring videos related to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Outrage grew again last summer when Charli D’Amelio, 17 and White, went viral with a dance to “Lottery (Renegade)” by Atlanta rapper K Camp. The so-called “queen of TikTok” gained millions of followers before she acknowledged the dance’s Black creator, Jalaiah Harmon, whom the New York Times eventually profiled. (Source: The Guardian)