Story at a glance:
- Black TikTok users are fed up with being uncompensated and uncredited for their original content.
- Black dancers are refusing to create a viral dance to Megan Thee Stallion’s new song, “Thot S--t.”
- Augmented reality holographic NFTs might be a solution to compensating and crediting Black TikTok users.
There is a movement amongst Black TikTok dancers who are fed up with being uncompensated and uncredited after their moves go viral.
Reported as an indefinite “strike” by The Guardian, Black users have banded together to not choreograph dances to popular songs on TikTok, starting with Megan Thee Stallion’s new song “Thot S--t.”
TikTok, which was merged with Musical.ly in 2018, is a short-form video-sharing app that enables users to dance or interact with music and other sounds, both original and borrowed. But while there are more than 168,000 videos on the app using “Thot S--t,” there is no trendy dance associated with the song like previous contemporaries, including Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s “WAP.”
“For all my melanated brothers and sisters of the African diaspora, we are on strike, we are not making a dance for Thot S--t, we are just going to let [white people] keep flailing,” user capnkenknuckles, aka Princess Kendall, said in a video last week. “It just shows how much you need us to make a dance.”
White content creators like 20-year-old American social media personality Addison Rae have gone viral and become celebrity influencers using moves taken from Black users, often without credit.
In one example, Rae was invited on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon to teach the host various dances she lifted from TikTok — and while the production of the segment properly named the dance moves, the dancers were not mentioned, sparking outcry, Black Enterprise reported.
Amanda Bennett, co-founder of the Black feminist consulting firm define&empower said that the algorithms on social media apps generally skew toward white people.
“Black creators are tired of white people profiting off our work and appropriating Black culture,” she said. “We’ve seen the way older generations of Black creators have been disrespected and erased, and we aren’t having it any more.”
“This app would be nothing without Black people,” one user said in a video refusing to make a dance.
“They can’t do it without us,” said another commenter.
One solution to combating uncredited and uncompensated dances is using holograms as nonfungible tokens (NFTs), digital assets that represent real-world objects.
A mobile company that specializes in augmented reality called Jadu recently created an app that gives TikTok users, like Jalaiah Harmon of the “Renegade” dance, Cookiee Kawaii of “Throw it back” dance and Blanco Brown of “The Git Up,” dance financial compensation and the ability to claim the rights to the choreography, Black Enterprise reported.
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