Jimmy Fallon’s TikTok dance segment with Addison Rae sparked backlash. Here’s why.
When singer and internet star Addison Rae performed some popular TikTok dances last week with Jimmy Fallon, it resurfaced frustrations about Black internet creators not getting the credit they deserve.
In 20-year-old Rae’s appearance Friday on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” she performed eight popular dance trends from the social video app TikTok, many of which were originally choreographed by BIPOC.
The clip, presented by the show as a fun way to bring online trends to primetime, sparked heavy backlash as an embodiment of a larger conversation concerning viral internet stars: that BIPOC content creators aren’t getting the proper recognition for creating online trends that their white counterparts then reproduce and benefit from, often in more mainstream settings.
Singer Addison Rae teaches host Jimmy Fallon TikTok dances on Friday, March 26, 2021. (Photo: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC)
Why people are upset about Addison Rae’s TikTok dances
Many online voiced concerns that Rae’s segment on “The Tonight Show” erased those who came before her.
“This is a miss @jimmyfallon,” tweeted “The View” host Sunny Hostin. “Let’s give credit to the black creators.”
“White privilege is not creating a single movement in these dances, but getting the opportunity to go on national TV to teach Jimmy Fallon instead of the actual creators,” added @StephMcNasty.
“This is cringey,” wrote @tanyachen. “But what’s worse is that Addison has been catapulted to being the face of viral dances created by mostly black tiktokers.”
The “Tonight Show” YouTube account’s posting of the clip includes TikTok handles for each of the dance creators: “Stranger Things” star Noah Schnapp (“Do It Again”), @jazlynebabee (“Savage Love”), @yvnggprince (“Corvette Corvette”), @flyboyfu (“Laffy Taffy”), @keke.janjah (“Savage”), @macdadddyz (“Blinding Lights”), @theemyanicole (“Up”), and @thegilberttwins (“Fergalicious”).
Addison Rae responds to the backlash
Rae told TMZ on Monday it was “kind of hard to credit during the show,” but stressed her admiration for the original choreographers and said she wants to collaborate with them “one day.”
“I definitely don’t do them justice. They’re all so amazing,” she said, adding it “was never my intention and they definitely deserve all the credit, because they came up with these amazing trends.”
Representatives for Fallon and Rae did not immediately return USA TODAY’s request for further comment.
“If me or any of my friends saw this being pitched – we would speak out and tell him A. It’s not a good look PR wise and B. It continues the American tradition of valuing white artists who steal the work of Black artists,” tweeted journalist Femi Redwood, noting the segment “calls into question who is on (Fallon’s) staff.”
Aside from Rae, Fallon – as well as “Live with Kelly and Ryan” and “Entertainment Tonight” – recently welcomed TikTok superstars Charli D’Amelio and David Dobrick, who are both white.
“Black streamers & content creators have to work TEN times harder than white creators do,” tweeted @blackapinaa. “It’s so annoying to see white people do the bare minimum and get all this recognition, but black creators have to do this and that or this and that x, y, z.. to be on that level. Frustrating.”
“Where are the black people who made these dances? Why aren’t they on jimmy fallon?” tweeted user @reportxed.
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