On TikTok, where she boasts over 70 million followers, Addison Rae's dancing has made her a bonafide celebrity. However, during a recent appearance on The Tonight Show, many felt that the performance was not only, well, cringey, but also representative of TikTok's failings when it comes to crediting Black choreographers on the platform.
During the segment, Rae performs eight viral TikTok dances — including Jason Derulo and Jawsh 685's "Savage Love," and Cardi B's "Up" — while host Jimmy Fallon stands behind her holding up signs that label each one. Because of copyright issues, instead of performing the moves to the actual songs, Fallon's band played different tunes. The clip immediately went viral, and not in a good way.
Many criticised Rae and the show for not taking the time to shout out the original choreographers of the dances. Some also pointed out how the whole situation felt similar to the plot of 2000's cult classic Bring It On: A captain of a predominantly white top cheerleading squad discovers that their choreographed routines were stolen by the former lead cheerleader (also white) from a predominantly BIPOC squad from East Compton.
Take 14-year-old Jalaiah Harmon, the creator of the über-famous Renegade dance: many didn't even know who she was until she was profiled by the New York Times in February 2020 months after countless creators went viral for doing her choreography. A year later, it's happening again on a much larger scale.
Following the backlash from the Fallon segment, Rae told TMZ that the original creators of the dances "definitely deserve all the credit."
"I think they were all credited in the original YouTube posting, but it's kinda hard to credit during the show," she said — the creators of the eight dance are in fact listed in the video description on YouTube — "but they all know that I love them so much and I mean, I support all of them so much. And hopefully one day we can all meet up and dance together."
She also said that she wants to "for sure" collaborate with them. "Ever since the beginning, I've been talking to most of them and definitely want to collab with a lot of them."
For the record, here are the dances' original creators, in order of appearance in the clip:
Crediting on social media platforms has been a longstanding issue — from stolen jokes on Twitter and Instagram (remember @FuckJerry?) to issues with ownership on now defunct platform Vine (RIP) — but as TikTok trends have astronomically grown in popularity in recent years, the discourse around how to properly credit someone for their work (and who tends to get credit instead) has also evolved. Oftentimes, it is the white TikToker like Charli D'Amelio or Rae who is given the spotlight, recognition, and career-defining late night appearances rather than one of the worthy Black creators. And that's a way bigger issue than some uncomfortable "Savage Love" dance.