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KhaeNotBae Is The Creator Behind Your Favorite TikTok Sounds — & Don’t You Forget It

Welcome to The Floor Is Yours, where we spotlight the creators behind the meaningful content on your FYP — because it’s not just about who they are, but the message in what they’re creating.   
Mikhaela Jennings (otherwise known as @KhaeNotBae) knows she’s your number one follow on TikTok — because she’s her own. “I’m my favorite TikToker on the internet,” she tells Refinery29 over Zoom. Of course, she’s not entirely serious; her comment is followed up with the characteristic joyful laugh that her 464,000-plus followers have come to know her for as much as they do her now-infamous, “the girls that get it, get it” catchphrase. You know, the one that’s all over TikTok videos, Instagram captions, and even Outback Steakhouse’s social media. But also, she should be her own favorite TikTok star, because it’s this confidence and candor that’s made the Florida-based creator’s videos so viral — and so hard to tear your eyes away from.
Jennings didn’t plan to be a TikTok creator. She joined the platform to get off Instagram, hyper-aware of the content she was putting out (she deleted her account and switched to TikTok where no one knew her) but still wanting to have a creative outlet. But that pastime has turned into something much bigger since she posted her first video in August 2020. (She asked her followers to give their opinion on which earrings to wear with her fit.) Shortly after, Jennings started sharing her thoughts about everything — from her parents suddenly bringing up wanting grandkids (no thank you, for Jennings), to her lust for anime characters, usually looking straight to camera and speaking from her bed and the front seat of her car.
Her viral video follows this same MO, featuring Jennings sitting in her car and uttering “I literally told you chitterlings eating b*tches the girls that get it, get it and the girls that don’t, don’t. Obviously, you don’t get it cause you’re not that girl,” she said. “Got it?” (For anyone wondering, the vid was made in response, Jennings told Complex, to friends and followers not liking her hairstyle.) The soundbite, posted in November of last year, has since been used over 71,000 times, and become synonymous with the no-need-for explanation decisions people make (like wearing a dress on a night out you know you’ll be freezing in or tucking your wet hair behind your ears), because it’s just unspoken knowledge. 
The clip is mostly used for videos to make us laugh or feel better, and that’s exactly what her goal is: to bring joy to people amidst a pretty tough time in the world. Specifically for Black people, to whom Jennings says her content is geared towards. “You really don't have to explain when it’s Black people. I really don’t have to go deep into it because they just get it," she says. “A lot of times people of other nationalities and ethnicities get to move through the world in a bubble and our bubbles were popped very young. So I want to create this bubble. I'm making my page a bubble where we can sit here and just express joy and have fun because I know once you turn off your phone and you walk out, it's just non-stop.”
@refinery29 #ad @KHAE🦦 is one of the girls that gets it #khaenotbae #thegirlsthatgetitgetit #sponsored by @clorox ♬ MOMENTS IN LIFE - Turreekk

As with anything that hits the mainstream, everyone wants a piece of it. Shortly after her sound popped off online, Jennings watched while celebrities and influencers started putting  “the girls that get it, get it,” and variations of the trend, in their captions — without crediting Jennings.  Since Jennings has gone viral, she’s also been working overtime to ensure she gets paid her dues, like that aforementioned Outback Steakhouse tweet. In response, Jennings tweeted: “Wait this better gimme some money.”
This conversation is nothing new to TikTok, where white creators have a history of co-opting and profiting off of content from Black creators. It started with dance choreo (remember “Renegade” dance creator Jalaiah Harmon?), and it’s the same with viral sounds. When she has asked for payment from brands and creators, she’s received pushback. “It’s a little tough because I know for a fact that y’all wouldn’t spit on me if I was on fire,” Jennings says. “So please stop.” (She’s currently looking into trademarking her sound bites, a process that takes time and money.)
Jennings is also aware that while it’s heartbreaking, this exploitation probably won’t stop anytime soon. First of all, because brands don’t really have to do their due diligence when it comes to sourcing sounds and creators (once someone creates a soundbite on the app, it can easily be used and shared by others), and also, because Jennings is continuing to create her hilarious, zany, and re-shareable worthy content. “Because I’m still posting on TikTok,” she says, “I'm still talking my stuff.” 
But even though she’s become known for her online presence Jennings isn’t trying to make it the only part of her identity — or the only income she has (she's currently working on a book of poetry, among other goals). Instead, she likens her time spent on the internet and our FYP to side gigs in Grand Theft Auto. “TikTok and the internet is a side mission for me,” she says. “I know I have a purpose and this is fun right now, and if it goes on new avenues for me, I would like that too, but it's always going to be a side mission because I can't get my gratification from the internet.”
With the way the internet — and virality — functions, Jennings knows that, inevitably, the people saying they love you will stop or switch, often at the drop of a hat. So you can’t bank your entire existence and identity on it. “I’ll still continue to do this for as long as it's giving back to me,” she says. “But as soon as it starts taking more than it’s giving, it's done for.”

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