For years now, Black influencers haven’t been receiving the credit they deserve. Internet viral videos may not seem like much, but in this day and age it can pave the way for business opportunities and clout.
Black influencers seem to be the only people unable to capitalize on the attention on their own content. Influencers with larger followings who neglect to provide credit when they use the materials created by Black influencers to become wealthy from endorsement deals and ad sales should be held accountable for their actions.
“It’s unfair…We deserve credit for our work not just because we are African American, but because nobody’s work should be stolen from them. Everyone deserves credit, but the fact that we don’t receive credit because we are African American is absurd,” Christopher Onyezie, 12th grade student at Thomas Edison said.
The “Renegade” dance situation is a prime example that demonstrates how important crediting is Jalaiah Harmon, young African American female, was the creator of the “Renegade” dance, but Charli D’Amelio, an influencer with over 107 million followers, popularized the dance without giving Harmon her due credit. For months, people were unaware that Jalaiah was the original creator of the dance.
“I think I could have gotten money for it, promos for it, I could have gotten famous off it, get noticed,” Harmon said in an interview with The New York Times with Taylor Lorenz. Her story had a great impact on social media. There was public outrage for Harmon to get credit. This was a great turning point and soon after creators, including Keara Wilson, Bryan Sanon, and Zach Jelks, were receiving their credit.
It has to become widespread that influencers make it a common action to give credit to the originators. Social media corporations need to do their part and ensure that this practice is enforced.
“There should be a rule that if a creator is taking credit for another’s dance or not giving credit; that their account will be suspended or banned and the video will be taken down. Add a section where you must indicate the creators tag,” Danisha Excellent, 12th grade student at Thomas Edison, said.
People need to see that these big corporations believe that their creators deserve way more credit than they are currently receiving. They need to get rid of this sort of appropriation and break this cycle of systematic racism in the social media world. Rules and programs must be implemented.
“Black creators are often not in the spotlight because social media corporations have a specific ‘image’ they want to push forward. They prefer other races to be their face instead of African Americans and don’t think diversity is important till people voice their issues. They often like to use African Americans as tokens and limit our platforms due to the racism that still is a part of our world today,” Excellent said.
On January 13th, TikTok announced a new incubator program “TikTok for Black Creatives,” which is an initiative that will invest in and encourage TikTok’s young black creators, musicians, and artists. This is a great step towards uplifting and providing Black creators with what they deserve: opportunities and equality.
Creators and fans hope to see a change in the internet culture as TikTok continues to gain popularity thanks to their creativity.