Usually, a new release from Megan Thee Stallion sparks a TikTok dance challenge. Unfortunately, her latest single, "Thot S--t," has not had the same success on the growing social media platform. However, the song's lack of success on TikTok has little to do with Megan Thee Stallion's popularity, talent, rapping ability or the song. Instead, the Black TikTok creators that have largely driven many of the app's dance challenges are on strike because they are rarely credited for their work.
Black TikTok creators are rarely, if ever, credited for their work on large platforms. The most prevalent example of erasure that Black TikTok creators have faced occurred just before the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020. A trio of white TikTok creators, Charli D'Amelio, Addison Rae and Dixie D'Amelio, traveled to Chicago for NBA All-Star Weekend in February 2020. While there, the trio was interviewed by ESPN's Cassidy Hubarth and captured doing the popular "Renegade" dance challenge.
During the initial interview, little to no credit was given to the producer who made the beat, Reazy Renegade, or the original dance challenge creator, Jalaiah Harmon. Thankfully, public outcry on social media pumped up Harmon's work and she was invited to perform at the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.
Harmon is not the only content creator to be denied credit for their work. In March, Jimmy Fallon invited Rae on to his late-night show to perform popular TikTok dances, many of which were created by Black content creators. Unfortunately, none of those Black creatives were invited to appear on the show. In an effort to avoid this happening again, Black content creators have banded together and decided not to create a dance challenge for "Thot S--t."
“Although they may not receive the bulk of the success on the app or the majority of the push on the app, the dances, the sounds, the trends, they all spawn from Black culture and Black creators. All of the biggest things on TikTok have been because of the impact of Black creators," Jovanny, known as jay.gov on TikTok, told Payton Wilson of REVOLT.
“Charli D’Amelio has never created a dance on the app, yet she’s the most popular person on the app. She has over 80 million followers on the platform. She’s the golden girl, and it’s simply because she does dances that Black users create. The Black content creators who create these dances put out sounds and create trends. Still, they don’t receive any of the shine.”
There is no formal union or group working to make this strike possible, but it is clear that there is an organized effort to make sure that Black creatives are properly credited and compensated for their work. If the likes of Rae and D'Amelio can enjoy a net worth of upwards of $2 million for their "content creation" then there is no reason that the creatives that actually make the app run can't be credited and provide wealth for their families and communities.