The increasing popularity of Tik Tok has allowed breakout moments for songs, trends, and certain people gaining instant notoriety and attention. One of the most influential people to blow up from Tik Tok right now is Addison Rae. Rae is the second most followed person on the platform and has used her Tik Tok success to start her own beauty line, collaborate with brands like American Eagle, and even start making her own music.
Rae is known for her trendy dances on the platform and was even invited on The Tonight Show to show off her dance moves. But here’s the problem, and this wasn’t something I recognized at the time, as well; those aren’t her “original” dances and while the segment with Jimmy Fallon was light hearted and fun, neither he or the show gave credit to the “original” creators of the dances.
This segment immediately sparked backlash from people online and initially I thought it just seemed ridiculous. The reason for dancing on Tik Tok is for everybody to get involved in trendy dances or skits; most don’t really know who the “original” creators are and most people really don’t care.
However, after hearing other people’s perspective on the situation, I began to understand why people were so upset with Rae and Fallon. Most of the creators who had created those dances are black and Addison Rae was given a platform on national television to people, especially older people, who may not know who she is or even what Tik Tok is. If this is their first introduction to her and those dances, then they’re going to think she created them when that is far from the case. It’s like someone posting someone else’s artwork on social media without tagging them or giving them any credit whatsoever.
However, last week it was great to see Fallon bring on the original Tik Tok creators for their dances and give them the credit that they deserve. A situation that obviously left a sour mouth in many people’s faces started a real conversation of giving people credit for their work, especially people of color.
This goes far beyond Tik Tok dances, but is a problem that happens a lot in our society when white people in particular copy or model they’re actions after in many cases black people, but then don’t give them any credit and pretend like they don’t even exist. You may be able to profit and gain attention off of one group’s work, but at least have the decency to give credit where it’s due. That’s the lesson I learned from this; I hope you did, too.