ABOVE: Jalaiah Harmon, original creator of the “Renegade” TikTok dance challenge
You know that catchy TikTok dance you’ve been trying to learn, or that funny video circulating in the group chat? More than likely those came from a Black TikTok creator, but disappointingly (yet unsurprisingly) they are not receiving their just due.
Black users from TikTok were already fed up with not receiving credit for some of the app’s most viral and widely shared moments. Last summer, #BlackTikTokStrike took hold of the popular platform to help support Black creatives voice their concerns about their work being copied by non-Black users and receiving social clout.
Now, Forbes has inadvertently highlighted that Black users aren’t getting paid for their impact either.
Forbes recently released its list of highest TikTok earners and none of them are Black.
What’s even more disappointing is the top earners on the platform are receiving more brand deals and high-paying opportunities that aren’t going to Black influencers. For example, the Hollywood Reporter pointed out, TikTok influencers Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae rose to fame after dancing to K Camp’s “Lottery (Renegade),” and soon leveraged their popularity into other opportunities. As ESSENCE previously pointed out, it wasn’t until months later that The New York Times helped spotlight Jalaiah Harmon as the original creator of the dance and called attention to how the Black teen didn’t receive any credit. At all.
Now, it was recently announced that the D’Amelio family has signed with Will Smith’s production company to spearhead a new reality show.
The list highlighted that not only are TikTok’s top influencers earning money, but they’re earning an exorbitant amount of money for everything from appearances, brand deals and sponsored posts. Variety reported the top influencers charge an average of $100,000 to $250,000 per post, with the max being $500,000 for just one sponsored post.
Forbes’ top five earners are Charli D’Amelio ($17.5 million), her sister Dixie D’Amelio ($10 million) Addison Rae ($8 million), Bella Poarch ($5 million), and Kris Collins ($4.75 million).