Black dance creators on TikTok strike — what happened?


Anaita Mistry

Many teens spend hours on TikTok learning dances that come, unknowingly, from POC content creators.

Anaita Mistry, Page Editor

As the Black Lives Matter movement continues to run strong, people of color (POC) TikTok creators were and are calling for equality, recognition, and support.

Charli & Dixie D’Amelio, Addison Rae and the Hype House are all names the internet associates with the sensational entertainment app TikTok and its equally electrifying dance trends. But what about its POC creators? The app’s biggest names “borrowed” dances from smaller creators of color, specifically black creators, many of whom took notice leading to a TikTok strike in early July.

“I feel like they do have the place to [strike] because they’re the ones creating these dances and then all these larger creators are taking [them],” said Niusha Golabi (‘22).

Many TikTok sensations, like those mentioned, post dances they take from TikTok’s POC creators without crediting them. Because of their popularity, big names like Charli D’Amelio and Addision Rae made appearances on light-night shows and sporting events, causing further tension as many dances were featured without their creators. 

“[POC creators] definitely should get credit for that. Dancing is a form of art, it’s like stealing someone’s art,” said Dean Eggers (‘23).

This wasn’t the first time POC creators felt unsupported by the platform. In June of 2020, in the midst of the Black Lives Matter protests, many videos of protests were “shadow-banned”, (censored, muted, and overall inhibited from circulation). 

This did not go unnoticed by the content creators, and this ushered a quick apology from TikTok claiming that they will support their black creators and create a safe space for their content. However, tensions continued to climb as content continued to be shadow banned, and it mounted as creators weren’t being credited earlier this year.

Tiktok promises to do better to support its creators and many dances have since been credited, but the disparity remains as many receive credit after the fact is pointed out. One way to keep moving forward, however, is through continuously pointing these disparities out and actions like those taken by POC creators.