#SavageChallenge creator Keara Wilson gets copyright to viral TikTok dance

After creating the viral #SavageChallenge dance, Wilson can finally say she owns the copyright to the popular moves.

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Over a year after creating the viral dance known as the #SavageChallenge, TikTok creator Keara Wilson can say she officially owns the copyright to the often-copied moves. 

The 20-year-old Ohio native was recognized at a dinner for Black, indigenous and people of color creators helmed by Logitech officials and choreographer JaQuel Knight on Tuesday night in Los Angeles. 

Logitech and Knight have partnered to help 10 BIPOC creators obtain their copyrights through the creation of labanotation, the method used for writing down dance steps. Wilson was among the first six creators whose copyrights have been approved.

Choreographer-activist JaQuel Knight (left) and TikTik star Keara Wilson (right) attend Tuesday night’s Logitech for Creators dinner in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Logitech)

Wilson was celebrated for winning the creative rights to her dance, a cute choreography that caught the attention of Megan Thee Stallion, the song’s creator, and celebrity artists like Justin Bieber and Jennifer Lopez. She created the TikTok routine at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, and it quickly went viral as more and more Americans were at home due to social distancing and virus mitigation restrictions. 

The young creator shared a TikTok of herself and Knight performing the dance on the red carpet on Tuesday. She thanked Knight for the recognition in the post.

@keke.janajah

the ONE & only…. @jaquelknight 💗💗💗 Thank you Thank you so much! & @logitech ❤️ Savage Dance is officially COPYRIGHTED! i own my dance 😭‼️

♬ Savage – Megan Thee Stallion

Also recognized at the event were Young Deji, creator of “The Woah” dance; Fullout Cortland, who created choreography to Doja Cat’s “Say So” performance at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards; the Nae Nae Twins, who created the dance to Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage Remix” featuring Beyoncé; Chloe Arnold, who made the “Salute a Legend” choreography for Syncopated Ladies‘ tribute to Prince, plus Mya Johnson and Chris Cotter, who created the “Up” dance to Cardi B’s hit song. 

Former Black Eyed Peas member will.i.am was in attendance, as was acclaimed dancer-choreographer-director Debbie Allen, the Howard University graduate who was among those celebrated at the Kennedy Center Honors this year after a decades-long career. 

Logitech For Creators’ Meridith Rojas (left), Keara Wilson (center), creator of the “Savage” dance, and choreographer JaQuel Knight (right) at Tuesday night’s dinner event. (Photo Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for Logitech For Creators)

Knight — the choreography creative behind the expertise expressed in the video for the Beyoncé smash “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” and her Black Is King and Homecoming big-screen projects — said he is thrilled to partner with Logitech to help these young creators take steps to protect their gone-viral creations. 

“The JK Foundation was ultimately started,” said Knight, “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. 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,” he added. “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.”

The copyrighting and this week’s event come on the heels of pushback from striking Black TikTok creators, who say they have been marginalized and shut out of earnings potential on the popular app. 

Knight and Logitech surprised the creators with the news that their dances had been copyrighted. 

According to the release, the U.S. Copyright Office receives less than 20 applications annually for choreographic works. 

Copyrighting the dance moves puts the power back in the creator’s hands, positioning their work as intellectual property, ensuring that they receive due credit. If the choreography is used in feature films, commercials, or video games, the creator can now receive payment for its usage.

Also announced at Tuesday’s event was a short film produced by Knight that will follow creators on their quest to own the rights to their work. The acclaimed choreographer also tells his own story about copyrighting his creations, including signature moves from the “Single Ladies” music video.

Meridith Rojas, Logitech For Creators’ global head of entertainment and creator marketing, said the company shared “JaQuel’s mission of driving change and conversation about creative copyright, and we’re taking steps to support this monumental work. This is not a film about dance; it’s a film about change, justice and fighting for creator rights.”

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