Black creators’ concerns go deeper than just getting dance credits or more brand deals. “We are being exploited and that is the core problem Black people have always had about labor,” Mr. Louis said. “These millions of likes, it will all turn into something. How do we get the real money, power and compensation we deserve? “
According to Li Jin, founder of Atelier, a venture firm that invests in the creative economy, these tensions stem from systemic inequality in the online creative industry. “The issue here is ownership,” she said. “The working class is disenfranchised and has no ownership over the means of creation and distribution.”
More creators, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds, are looking at tech companies’ skyrocketing valuations and rethinking their relationship with certain platforms.
“People realize that these tech companies are very valuable, they are highly valued, and the CEOs and tech workers are making a lot of money.” Miss Jin said. “But the platform participants, the creators, were left out of this equation. There is a cause of economic inequality, which is generally the problem of our time. “
“My hope is that we realize that this is a whole bunch of work that didn’t exist before,” she added. “If we don’t provide the working class with rights and protections, they will be increasingly disenfranchised.”
Kaelyn Kastle, 24, a Black content creator and member of the Collab Crib, said she is not involved in the strike, but supports what it represents. “Strike to send a message. The business models of these apps, they make us overworked and underpaid,” she said. “We are working long hours but at the end of the day we are still making very little money and our Black creators are earning even less.”