TikTok’s new creator credit tool might revolutionise content-creating forever
When you’re a creator, all you want is recognition and respect. Social media now makes it so easy to show the diverse idiosyncrasies of creative people everywhere and this will, of course, bring inspiration – but there’s a problem with how creation is respected in the digital world. Many original creators’ work is overlooked because it’s buried under the internet landfill; all this work is done for no acclaim or no reward. Alternatively, creators are ignored for their talents or art in favour of the more influential ones; the latter is a problem seen heavily on TikTok.
The app has been dogged for its mistreatment of Black creators. Frequently, Black concepts have been stolen or whitewashed due to either cultural appropriation or TikTok’s algorithm that promotes more famous faces than the smaller creator. But that could be about to change with a quick fix to make it inclusive for all. In honour of Black History Month, the UK’s TikTok team is ready to launch a creator credit tool on the app – that’s revolutionary. This follows the successful #ThisIsBlack campaign last year and this year’s #BeenDoingIt also.
We’ve seen how wrong it can go, the most famous case of this was the Renegade dance. In 2019, then 14-year-old trained dancer Jalaiah Harmon created a sequence to Atlanta rap star, K Camp’s ‘Lottery’ and shared it with her Funimate and Instagram followers. But after its limited success, the dance was adapted by a TikTok user who never gave her credit.
Creating one of the biggest of the ‘20s decade so far (it’s now a Fortnite dance) it was disheartening – but not surprising – to see someone else gain credit for her choreography. TikTok’s most-followed star Charli D’Amelo was praised for popularising such a difficult dance, and seen as the face of the TikTok dance community, but she hadn’t done the work. It wasn’t until K Camp brought Harmon out at his halftime performance for the Atlanta Hawks that she got her flowers, proudly doing the dance with her cousins who were in the original video. Harmon, by creating a viral dance that is now K Camp’s biggest hit, made every artist want a dance trend of their own to get a hit.
Thank you Jalaiah and Skylar for helping make lottery the BIGGEST song in the world. Tell the blogs eat it up! pic.twitter.com/HOo2jy5TAH
— FLOAT (@kcamp) February 15, 2020
Think about how Doja Cat’s ‘Say So’ went Number One: TikToker Haley Sharpe (@yodelinghaley) made up a viral dance that skyrocketed Doja’s streams online and her position on the charts. Many dance trends are the driving force behind so many of this decade’s biggest hits: look at Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘Savage’ and its Beyoncé remix, and Chris Brown and Wizkid’s recent Number One ‘Call Me Every Day’. That’s why it’s so important that, before the dance is galvanised by the artist or public figure, we give credit to those creatives.
And it’s hard to see popular pretty TikTokers earn all the credit or become the face of a subculture that they don’t help sustain. In March 2021, The Jimmy Fallon Show brought on singer and TikToker Addison Rae to do dances as if she’s the face of the platform’s scene. She hasn’t created any dances, but simply adopts when they’re trendy – so where was the love for the creators significantly smaller than her not given the same spotlight? Addison Rae talked to TMZ about Black creators being credited after the backlash she received from The Jimmy Fallon Show appearance. She said that “They [Black creators] definitely deserve all the credit since they came up with all these amazing trends”
— Jimmy Fallon (@jimmyfallon) March 27, 2021
We understand that you shouldn’t shoot the messenger, but when you’re doing someone else’s creation or using their idea to further yourself, you should also applaud that inspiration. Addison said that “it’s hard to credit them during the show” – it isn’t. The Jimmy Fallon Show runners could have easily put the creator’s name or video up at the same time as Addison dancing. For the most part, no one will search the creator’s names up and give you the credit. Well, unless you’re @theericklouis on the app, popular for stealing content back as well as his social commentary.
Idea thievery isn’t as prevalent in the UK, however, it’s a universal rule of the app that if you take someone’s idea, albeit it makeup, dancing, niche video ideas, etc, you should honour the creator of it. When you create, it’s to be accepted. It’s to be noticed. In today’s society, many creatives feel used and unappreciated as it should be simply easy to create, and no one sees the excruciating time behind the scenes.
TikTok, with this new creator credit tool, will make us all feel like our efforts won’t go unnoticed, and hopefully it won’t discourage creators on the app to think outside the box and create viral moments. To finally be respected for your creations shouldn’t only morally right, but trend makers deserve to be empowered for their genius and continue what they’re doing. Without creative inventors, music, dance, and all the other arts would cease to exist, so we all know the creators exist, too, and give them their praises.
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