Column: Renegade dance sparks a revolution in supporting Black creators

Eumetria Jones
Oxford Stories

The Renegade can be described as one of the most popular and the first viral TikTok dance. The dance blew up at the beginning of 2020, has grown across the world, and is seen on different platforms.

The Renegade dance comes from the song “Lottery” by K Camp. In March of 2020, it was estimated that over 29.7 million people did the viral dance, according to Insider.

If you search for the Renegade dance on Google, there are about 3.4 million results, and on TikTok, there are over 30.1 million videos made to the original sound. It was originally brought to TikTok by user @global.ones and was soon popularized by Charli D’Amelio, one of the most influential TikTokers, who has over 99.1 million followers.

D’Amelio’s Renegade dance video played a big part in getting the dance out to the public and making it viral. Also, by uploading this particular video, D’Amelio’s status on TikTok skyrocketed, which has led to a major increase in her followers and fanbase. The original video has 4.1 million views.

While being in quarantine in the earlier months of this year, many people have had more free time to take part in this viral sensation, which helped the dance grow in popularity. Even celebrities, such as Lizzo, Millie Bobby Brown, Mason Disick, Kourtney Kardashian and Bella Thorne, did their own version of the dance.

However, the original dance creator was left in the dark. Jalaiah Harmon created the dance in October of 2020 and originally posted it on a different social media platform. It was a long time until she received credit for her choreography. Things happened that put her at a disadvantage from D’Amelio, who was able to monetize, meet other celebrities, and perform the dance live on television.

“I think I could have gotten money for it, promos for it. I could have gotten famous off it, get noticed,” Harmon said in an interview with Refinery 29 Unbothered. “I don’t think any of that stuff has happened for me because no one knows I made the dance.”

D’Amelio received credit for something she didn’t create, which upset some on social media. Harmon’s choreography was performed by famous TikTokers on national television during NBA All-Star weekend for millions to see.

When many black influencers and celebrities discovered that the girls who redid the dance were getting credit for Harmon’s work, it started a chain reaction of people reposting and calling for Harmon to receive credit. Since receiving credit, she also performed during the halftime show at the NBA All-Star game and on “Ellen,” met K Camp, and gained millions of followers on social media. 

Black influencers and creators have historically not gotten the credit they deserve. Larger white influencers tend to take over the internet and get more attention even when recreating dances because of their large fan base, which causes the smaller minority influencers to fall in the back of the recognition line. The same situation that Harmon was in has happened to many others.

Right after Harmon got credit for her viral dance, social media brought attention to another black creator who choreographed the “Savage” by Megan Thee Stallion viral dance. Her name is @keke.janajah on TikTok.

“It’s very frustrating when the credit is not given where credit is due to us young black people,” @keke.janajah said in an interview with Refinery 29’s Unbothered.

Eventually, Megan Thee Stallion discovered the original creator, gave her credit and also performed the dance. This led other black creators to feel like this was happening to them and that their content was getting pushed to the bottom, meanwhile other white influencers were getting all of the acknowledgment.

Nevertheless, black influencers and creators are now getting more acknowledgement for their videos and content. There have been many viral TikTok’s created by black people, and each person should receive their due credit. Renegade and Savage were some of the most viral TikTok dances created by talented black people, and the trend should continue.

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