Logitech and celebrity choreographer JaQuel Knight have teamed up to support Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour creators with a new copyright initiative.
At a dinner hosted Wednesday night in L.A., six BIPOC creators were surprised with the news that Logitech and The JaQuel Knight Foundation would help them secure copyright of their choreography, with Knight calling it a “remarkable step in our goal towards creating a system of protection for young creators.” The collaboration will honour a total of ten BIPOC creators.
“The JK Foundation was ultimately started to provide a place of support for dancers (during an extremely fragile time in the pandemic, nonetheless), and to put the power back in the artists’ hands – not just for myself, but for the next JaQuel Knight,” the award-winning choreographer said. “For all of the little boys and girls who look like me. The foundation’s hope is to impact, encourage, and inspire the next generation of artists, and build a community that supports each other. I am so inspired by this incredible group of choreographers and am so excited to be able to share this historic moment with them as we move toward real change in the commercial music and entertainment industries.”
Amongst those in attendance Wednesday were Keara Wilson, who created the viral TikTok dance to Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘Savage’ and the Nea Nea Twins who choreographed Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘Savage Remix’ ft. Beyoncé.
This initiative comes off the back of a month-long strike for Black TikTok creators who are refusing to create choreography in an attempt to shed light on the platform’s habit of suppressing Black creators and often removing their content altogether.
Initially reserved for Megan Thee Stallion’s release of ‘Thot Shit,’ the strike has now extended for several weeks, solidifying what non-white folk have been saying for years—TikTok dances rely heavily on choreography, trends, sounds, and styles rooted in the Black community and developed by Black creators.
The suppression of Black creators goes beyond TikTok as a platform, however, as white users have notoriously profited off the work of Black creators without giving due credit or exposure.
This pattern was first brought to light last year when The New York Times profiled Jalaiah Harmon, the teen who choreographed the renegade dance from her Atlanta bedroom in late 2019. Becoming the most popular dance TikTok, the renegade dance helped shape the zeitgeist of the platform and essentially handed several white creators their careers, including Charli D’Amelio who was branded the “CEO of Renegade” despite having no association Jalaiah.
Then in March 2020, translated documents from TikTok’s parent company ByteDance revealed that moderators were instructed to suppress content from creators based on their physical appearance and perceived socioeconomic status— another indication that the platform discriminated against non-white users.
Most recently, Addison Rae— another white creator who shot to fame during the renegade era— came under fire when performing a compilation of TikTok dances on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. Nearly every dance was choreographed by a Black creator without any credit or acknowledgement.
“We share JaQuel’s mission of driving change and conversation about creative copyright, and we’re taking steps to support this monumental work,” said Meridith Rojas, Global Head of Entertainment and Creator Marketing for Logitech For Creators of the collaboration.
The copyright initiative is part of #Creators4BIPOC— an annual celebration held by Logitech’s creative arm, Logitech For Creators. This is the second year running.