Since the release of Megan Thee Stallion’s latest single "Thot Shit," something has been missing from the pop-culture radar. Usually, a catchy Megan release inspires some form of viral dance, but not this time.
That's because, over the weekend, many Black TikTok creators took a quiet vacation, deciding not to create a choreography for the hit song. The reason is simple: TikTok would be nothing without us, and it's time to show some respect.
The TikTok strike is a united reaction to the hurt and exhaustion many Black creators have been feeling over repeatedly seeing their work being taken, used, and appropriated without credit.
The perfect example is the controversy that erupted following TikTok influencer Addison Rae’s Tonight Show appearance, during which she performed a number of viral dances that were, in fact, developed by Black creators. To add insult to injury, the actual choreographers, who were all young POC, weren’t credited for their work until the show faced public scrutiny. Sadly, this is far from an exception.
The TikTok strike started on Saturday when a creator named Erick Louis (@theericklouis) posted a video saying that he made a dance to “Thot Shit” and can be seen bopping along to the beat of the song as if ready to bust some moves. But then when the beat drops, the text reads: "Sike. This app would be nothing without [Black] people."
Louis' video resulted in many feeble — albeit, funny — attempts at dancing to the song's catchy beat, and showed a united front from Black creators who have collectively realized the power of their influence.
“I think collectively Black folk were like, ‘you know what, we're just going to take a seat and see what white people can come up with,” Erick Louis told NYLON.
The strike is not a boycott of Megan Thee Stallion herself, though the rapper's success does have a lot to do with the viral dances her hit songs inspire. Megan's biggest songs — including "Savage" and "Captain Hook" — were previously used in TikTok dance trends created by Black choreographers that only went viral through performances by white TikTok influencers.
This issue is deeper than white influencers failing to credit Black creators. Since TikTok became popular in 2019, the platform's For You Page algorithm has faced accusations of racism and its biggest stars have been accused of appropriating Black culture through dance trends.
After constant dismissal of Black creativity, it's refreshing to see Black TikTokers take a stand against what has sadly become the norm. In truth, since well before TikTok, many careers have been built at the expense of Black creators. It’s anti-Black, it’s wrong, and it's time it stops.