The Ugly Truth About Tik Tok

Kaiya Alsobrook

Tik Tok may be hiding black excellence from its 800 million users.

When I’m scrolling through Tik Tok’s ‘For You’ page, I always notice teenagers doing the same skits: lip-syncing, dancing, pranks, and more. Another thing I noticed was that there were no black people on my ‘For You’ page. I love seeing people expressing themselves on social media because it shows a different creative side of them. But, I constantly ask myself how can this page be “For Me” if I don’t see people who look like me?

According to Mashable, Tik Tok has a set of unwritten rules or guidelines that one must follow in order to be featured on the home page. Some of these rules are you can’t be too fat, skinny, you can’t be in a ghetto, slum, the area around you must be clean or tidy unless it is for your video. If you or your surroundings don’t match what Tik Tok wants, your chances of going viral are slim to none.

Why does an app that is meant for entertainment focus so much on looks? Shouldn’t they focus more on the content?

Tik Tok has become more than just a way for people to showcase themselves on social media, it has also become a way for people to make millions, gain sponsors, and endorsement deals. Influencers such as Charlie D’Amelio have become famous and received clout for doing dances such as The Renegade, Savage, Holy Moly Donut Shop, and more. These dances have two things in common: they were all created by young talented black people and none of the creators received initial credit for their hard work and dedication.

“I was happy when I saw my dance all over,” said Jalaiah Harmon, the original creator of the world-famous ‘Renegade’ dance in her interview with the New York Times. “But I wanted credit. I was upset.”

Harmon’s dance was changed a little in the end and before she knew it the world was doing her dance. She did not receive recognition for the dance until later down the line. Instead, people credited 15-year-old Tik Tok influencer Charlie D’Amelio for the dance’s popularity.

Every creator deserves credit for the work that they create. Hopefully in the future Tik Tok comes up with a better way to give its creators credit for their work. As Tik Tok users we should give credit to the creators so that they may not miss out on possible business opportunities that will positively affect their futures. With that, we should support black influencers just as much as we support white influencers because everyone deserves a chance- especially if they deserve it.