Have you ever learned a TikTok dance?

Did you know who created the dance? Why does dance credit matter on TikTok?

Although TikTok features an incredible variety of video content, the app is known for its dance challenge culture. Take for instance the Renegade Dance Challenge.

Lets Do It GIF by Adult Swim

The Renegade Dance Challenge

  • Set to rapper K-Camp’s song “Lottery (Renegade)”

  • Dominated TikTok in winter 2019-20

  • Became synonymous with Charli D’Amelio, TikTok’s most-followed creator

But there was one issue. D’Amelio didn’t create the dance.

Jalaiah Harmon, a Black teenager, had created the dance in October 2018. But Harmon was never credited for the dance and, as D’Amelio’s fame rose, Harmon remained largely anonymous.

Jalaiah Harmon

The Renegade Dance Challenge opened up conversations about TikTok and the issue of dance credit. Why does dance credit matter on TikTok? How do creators give credit on TikTok? How has the culture shifted after crediting on TikTok?

What Happened With Renegade?

  • In January 2020, the New York Times profiled Jalaiah Harmon

  • This brought mainstream media attention to TikTok and the issue of dance credit

  • It focused on how the platform exploits the labor of Black creators such as Harmon

Harmon was invited to perform the Renegade Dance at the 2020 NBA All-Star Game in Atlanta, Georgia.

During the NBA All-Star Weekend, Harmon met Charli D’Amelio and Addison Rae. The trio performed Harmon’s version of the Renegade dance before posting it on TikTok. 

As Jalaiah Harmon got more credit for the Renegade, the culture on TikTok around crediting began to change.

  • Charli D’Amelio began giving dance credit in her video captions

  • Once D'Amelio began giving dance credit, many of her 118 million followers started to do the same

  • Giving credit is now normal and expected on TikTok

Quiz

When did TikTok become available in the United States?

2017

2020

2018

2019

Why Does Dance Credit On TikTok Matter?

Giving dance credit is a citational practice that:

  • highlights the work done by the original choreographer

  • allows people to engage more with their content on TikTok

The more users engage with someone’s TikTok account, the more likely the TikToker’s videos will go viral and accumulate followers. 

  • A high follower count creates opportunities, like brand sponsorship deals or money from the Creator Fund

  • TikTok celebrities such as Charli D’Amelio, Addison Rae, and Bella Poarch have transformed their TikTok following into mainstream fame and monetization.

It isn’t just TikTok, it's a viable career path.

jerry maguire money GIF

How Do We Give Credit On TikTok?

If you know who the creator is

  • Tag them in the caption using “dc” for dance credit (or “vc” for video credit)

For example... If you upload a video performing the Renegade Dance Challenge, tagging Harmon using “dc: @jalaiahharmon” signals to viewers where the dance originated. Plus it makes it easy for users to follow Harmon.

Pop Tv GIF by Schitt's Creek

If you don't know who the creator is

  • Ask in the caption or comments

  • Even if no one knows who created a dance, asking sends a message that giving credit is important

Take Action

Next time you are on TikTok and see a dance that you like...

Giving dance credit may seem like a small action, but if enough people engage in the practice then the culture can shift and we can begin to give credit where credit is due. 👏🏼

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This Byte has been authored by

TB

Trevor Boffone

Teacher, Writer, Aspiring Dancer