Black creators are using TikTok to educate. We should all pay attention.

A phone with TikTok leaning against a stack of textbooks

TikTok is home to more than just dances and funny videos; for many, it’s a platform to discuss social issues in need of more attention.

The ‘Black Leftist Hype House’ is a recent TikTok account comprised of Black leftists who share their views on imperialism, capitalism, and white supremacy on their platform. Their aim is to create an intersectional and educational space for Black leftists online.

The account is a direct contrast to other Hype Houses on the platform, made up of white members and primarily driven by a desire for more profit, more followers, and more content.

Its success also counters the controversial fame of figures like Charli Dimelio, who profited immensely off her Renegade TikTok dance—despite the dance originating from a Black creator. While Dimelio has been named the dance’s ‘CEO,’ Jalaiah Harmon—the creator of the dance—goes mostly unknown and uncredited.

TikTok hasn’t always been the safest space for Black creators; accusations of the app’s alleged censoring of Black Lives Matter hashtags last year is a testament to that. But the Black Leftist Hype House is creating a shift in the platform, making information on current social issues accessible for young people.

The fact that the Hype House is made up of Black creators is especially important. White leftists might be able to educate themselves on social issues, but that can never replace the lived experiences of Black people who face discrimination their whole lives.

School curriculums can also act as gatekeepers of education, picking and choosing issues to discuss in academic settings, as well as how to portray them.

By contrast, creators the Black Leftist Hype House have the freedom to speak about issues from their own lived experiences without being limited to what might appear in a textbook.

Having Black leftist discourse like this is a positive thing, carving space for other Black creators on the platform. But that’s not to say TikTok as a platform is wholly positive. Like any social media platform, the app hosts toxic comment sections in addition to, at times, toxic content.

It’s important for TikTok to protect its creators, encourage spaces like Black Leftist Hype House, and work to ensure the safety, both physical and mental, of those on the app.

It’s equally vital for users of the app to engage with Black creator content. This will not only help diversify the content of the users, but will help to promote and boost Black creators on the site.

TikTok is far from just Charli Dimelio’s domain; it’s a platform teeming with diverse creators and resources to help educate oneself. Instead of dismissing the app as silly, we must acknowledge the many facets of TikTok—in addition to its creators.

—Journal Editorial Board

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