Black TikTok creators had finally reached the point where enough is enough: It was time to strike.
After a recent trend saw an influx of white TikTokers creating content to Nicki Minaj’s “Black Barbies”—a song about Black women—appropriation-weary Black creators took action. Over the past few days, the hashtag #BlackTikTokStrike buzzed on Twitter.
These Black creators sought to deprive TikTok of one of its biggest engines of creativity; one that was not always, or even often, getting the credit it deserved.
They have shunned choreographing new dances to trending songs, leading to mismatched, off-the-cuff routines under fresh music such as “Thot S***” by Megan Thee Stallion.
The TikTok account @defineandempower.co, which describes itself as a Black feminist education collective, explained the strike’s motivation in a video: “Black TikTokers’ refusal to have their work and culture appropriated taps into a larger history of white capitalists profiting off the unpaid labor of Black Americans.”
This moment was a long time coming.
The Rise of D’Amelio
At 2020’s NBA All-Star Game, fresh-faced influencers Charli D’Amelio, her older sister Dixie, and Addison Rae Easterling—who skyrocketed to social media stardom via the video-sharing app TikTok—bopped energetically on the glimmering court of Chicago’s United Center.
The trinity of Gen Z darlings occasionally left their courtside seats to perform popular dances, at times alongside NBA star players and cheerleaders, before a…