Late last month, TikTok influencer Addison Rae took to the stage on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon” and casually performed a number of new viral dance routines in a comedic sketch. Critics responded with appropriation cries – the creators of the dances, many of which were black, were not credited – and with dismissals of Rae’s dancing skills.
What the skit’s producers failed to acknowledge is how dance credits have become a staple of TikTok, as they have with apps that previously loved dance like Instagram and Dubsmash. Influencers like Rae and Charli D’Amelio are perhaps the most famous dancers on TikTok, but they are vessels for dances created by a range of others, from professional choreographers looking for a jolt of virality to teenagers living in their basement work out new moves.
This week’s popcast featured a conversation about the way dance was central to TikTok’s spread, the relationship between black choreographers and white influencers, and a pocket story of dance credits on social media.