With all of the dances, popular sounds, skits, and original content series that Black creators bring to TikTok one would assume at least one innovator would’ve made a list amongst the platform’s top earners.
But, that wasn’t the case in Forbes‘ new list of “Top-Earning TikTok-ers 2022” released a week ago. Not a single Black TikTok creator made the publication’s list, which ranked the collective $55.5 million white creators are bringing in.
Senegalese-born TikToker Khaby Lame has a massive 127 million followers on the video app –– that just six million away from Forbes‘ No. 1 pick, Charli D’Amelio who has 133 million followers. But Lame didn’t make the list.
In the article, Forbes explained their ranking process:
“We look at the top-earning stars whose fame originated on TikTok. This leaves out other celebrities actively on the app, like Will Smith and Jason DeRulo. From there, our numbers estimates what TikTokers earned from January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2021. This is different from our debut list in 2020, which calculated earnings from July 2019 through July 2020.
“Another difference: That initial ranking was a snapshot of who we thought had earned a million dollars from TikTok in those 12 months. With sponsored content rates up, a million isn’t hard to do anymore, which is why this new Top 5 list requires a minimum of $4.75 million in earnings, a point several times greater than our original roll’s cutoff.”
Last year, Black TikTokers went on strike after their original content was repeatedly appropriated by white creators who land deals, and paid opportunities colonizing the digital space.
Creators have also repeatedly called out TikTok’s algorithm for bias in blocking Black creators from making certain type of posts or receiving the same level of visibility.
“People still need to acknowledge Black creators and not ignore us in any community that we partake in,” TikTok user Jazmine Moore said. “To not belittle us or demonize our content for their amusement. We have each other in the long run and will succeed collectively as a family.”
As the recent viral TikTok sound from the legendary Pace Sisters says, “Act like y’all know.”