The cycle of popular songs on TikTok has been clear for a while now. A musician releases a track, a viral dance arises and millions of users take their shot at acing it, some of them gaining fame because of it—and then a new song comes along. However, a glitch in the Matrix occurred when “Thot Shit” by Megan Thee Stallion was released and no Black creator stepped in to choreograph a new viral dance for white users to latch onto. It’s called attention to how Black creators drive internet culture and trends, with white people consistently co-opting and profiting off their ideas. There’s now been a deliberate effort by many Black users to not create a dance for the song.
“For all my melanated brothers and sisters of the African diaspora, we are on strike,” TikTok creator Capkenknuckles says in a video captioned “We are TIREDT.” “We’re not making a dance for ‘Thot Shit.’ Sorry. We’re just gonna let them keep flailing.”
Without Black users to show them what to do with “Thot Shit,” white TikTokers really tried their hardest... kind of. They seem to have forgotten where their knees were or how to shake their ass as the song suggests, resulting in some lazy “dancing” and humorous interpretations of what they see fit to do with the song, including waving their hands back and forth above their heads. User @xosugarbunny told them off in a video, saying “I don’t want to hear another fucking white woman ever say that TikTok dances and TikTok trends aren’t entirely stolen from Black women. Because a Black woman has yet to give a dance to this song… Megan says ‘Hands on my knees. Shaking my ass. On my thot shit.’ The instructions are right there.”
Last year, Jalaiah Harmon created one of 2020’s most viral dances when she choreographed a short, catchy dance to K Camp’s “Lottery.” Her dance, called the “Renegade,” went uncredited until a New York Times profile revealed that she was the dance’s original creator. By that time, non-Black creators had already gained views, followers, and brand sponsorships by performing Harmon’s choreography.
This cycle has endured for years now, starting with Twitter and Vine, where Black users would create memes and other viral content that would end up only bringing attention, not to mention lots and lots of money, to white people. If you would like to a see a prime example of the issue at hand, here’s influencer Addison Rae Easterling “teaching” TikTok dances created by Black users to Jimmy Fallon. Fallon eventually invited the creators, including 15-year-old “Up” originator Mya Johnson, to perform and tell the stories behind their dances on The Tonight Show.
“Of course, I was happy and everything,” Johnson told Teen Vogue when she saw Easterling performing her choreography on national television. “My mom always tells me, ‘When it’s my time, it’s my time.’ I felt like that should’ve been my time and Chris’ time, because we created the dance.”