Great Britain

‘We are just going to let them keep flailing’: Black creators on TikTok go on indefinite ‘strike’ to protest dance appropriation

Black creators on TikTok have gone on a “strike”, refusing to choreograph a dance to Megan Thee Stallion’s new song “Thot Shit”, in a bid to challenge the appropriation of their content by white users.

Their main aim is to prove that the video-sharing app depends on their creativity to boost viral trends and that their work is routinely adapted by white creators who don’t credit them.

Megan Thee Stallion’s new song has been used in more than 168,000 TikTok videos since Thursday (24 June), and has amassed over 15 million streams on Spotify. Despite the song’s popularity, no particular dance trend has taken off on TikTok.

A user named capnkenknuckles said in his video: “For all my melanated brothers and sisters of the African diaspora, we are on strike. We are not making a dance for ‘Thot Shit’, we are just going to let them [referring to white people] keep flailing.

“It just shows how much you need us to make a dance,” the user said.

“We observed over the years on TikTok that most dances on the app are originated by Black creators and creators who aren’t Black will water it down to do the bare minimum of the dance and claim it as their own,” a user named Jazmine Moore told Mashable.

“So when this song (‘Thot Shit’) popped up everyone knew that someone was going to make a dance to it. But Black creators collectively agreed not to make one,” the 20-year-old creator said.

“People still need to acknowledge Black creators and not ignore us in any community that we partake in,” she added. “To not belittle us or demonize our content for their amusement. We have each other in the long (run) and will succeed collectively as a family.”

The TikTok user also highlighted the lack of trending dances to Stallion’s song shows that Black creators are “the backbone of this app”.

A user name theericklouis also said in a video that “this app would be nothing without Black people”.

This isn’t the first time there have been complaints among the Black TikTok community over a lack of credit and recognition. In 2020, numerous creators announced a blackout on the app in protest of content suppression.

At that point, TikTok apologised and vowed to do “better”.

“We acknowledge and apologize to our Black creators and community who have felt unsafe, unsupported or suppressed. We don’t ever want anyone to feel that way,” the company said in a statement. “We welcome the voices of the Black community wholeheartedly.”

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