Recognizing Black Creativity: The Need for Black Voices on Platforms Like TikTok
Black Tiktok creators are on strike, protesting a pattern of appropriation and failure to credit black creators on the app. Many white Tik Tok creators have made millions off viral dances conceptualized by black creators on the app who receive little or no credit for their work and creativity. The phenomenon is reflective of a long history of white communities profiting at the expense of black Americans who are not compensated for their work.
TikTok is one platform of many where creators are able to gain followings, share creative ideas, and receive compensation for their contributions to the platform. Young TikTok creators and audiences calling out the lack of credit given to black creators on the platform is one step towards recognition of black voices and black creators. However, racial injustice in creative fields is widespread and calls for a new norm of giving credit to black creators where credit is due.
Appropriation on TikTok and other platforms is silencing to black voices on platforms that should allow freedom of expression and serve as a place for black voices to be heard. Black creators striking on the platform aim to draw attention to the importance of their contributions to the app’s success. The act of protest raises awareness about a long history of lucrative white mimicry of black creativity. The widespread lack of crediting black creators has direct implications on socioeconomic justice. A Bloomberg report found that white creators make significantly more than black creators on TikTok. Recognition leads to compensation in these cases, and creators are demanding that the discrepancy be addressed.
Miss EmpowHer and other brands such as EveryStylishGirl which focus on empowerment are intertwined with social movements and current events such as the striking by TikTok creators. Empowerment involves recognition for hard work and creative contributions like those of black TikTok creators. The creators’ efforts to demand recognition and the news of the strike highlights the need for black creativity and representation of black creators on platforms such as TikTok. By appropriately recognizing and compensating black creators and artists for their contributions to these platforms, we can highlight the importance of black voices and stand up against appropriation of their work. The TikTok phenomenon that black creators are drawing attention to is reflective of a larger pattern which we can combat by supporting and demanding the recognition of black creators on the platforms we regularly use.