TikTok protests urge support for Black creators in honor of Malcolm X

    Founder of Black Lives Matter Utah uses Malcolm X's birthday to launch the #ImBlackMovement on the platform

    TikTok Protest theGrio.com
    TikTok Protest (Screenshot from TikTok personality, TheeMuse, Iman)

    As more and more people shelter-in-place during the coronavirus pandemic, TikTok is becoming one of the most popular outlets offering individuals a space for creative expression and connection. 

    READ MORE: Georgia student in racist TikTok video declares ‘Black people ruined my life’

    Considered the fastest-growing social media platform in the world, the Chinese-based social network app has nearly 2 billion downloads and 800 million of those accounts are regularly active.

    However, for all of its popularity, the site has several issues that have been noted by detractors. 

    Two years ago, The Guardian ran a story where TikTok admitted to censoring posts by people who were “vulnerable” to bullying. These users were most often disabled, overweight, or LGBTQ. The site said that “the rules were a stopgap solution to bullying on the platform,” and were “never intended to be a long-term solution.” 

    TikTok theGrio.com
    In this photo illustration, the Tik Tok app is displayed on an Apple iPhone on November 01, 2019 in San Anselmo, California. (Photo Illustration by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

    As previously reported by theGrio.com, content creators have complained that the platform allows individuals to use hateful language and racial slurs to alienate, mock, or discriminate against other groups.

    Now, African American TikTok creators are alleging that they too are being censored. However, these complaints are being backed up by action.

    Lex Scott, the founder of Black Lives Matter Utah, launched the #ImBlackMovement on the platform yesterday in observation of Malcolm X‘s birthday. She asked users to change their profile picture to the Black power fist, to unfollow a user who does not support the movement, and to follow at least one new Black creator. 

    Scott posted her video on May 7th where she urged Black users to create at least one video “that brings awareness to the racism on TikTok.” She said that the videos could speak to the fact that “Black creators are banned, how videos are being taken down, and how white racists are allowed to flourish.”

    READ MORE: Social media talent manager talks achieving success as a Black TikTok creator

    Scott told CNN, “Watching the entire feed filled with Black creators and artists is beyond emotional. This is powerful,” she said, “Today is a moving day. It is beautiful beyond words.”

    According to the article, thousands of people changed their profile pictures and videos under the hashtags, including #Blackvoicesheard, which reached 6 million views.