One choreographer has had it with people stealing other people’s dance moves and not giving them the proper credit.
Variety reports JaQuel Knight — who became best known for his work on Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” video, and has since gone on to work for the likes of Megan Thee Stallion — has formed a one-of-a-kind company called Knight Productions and Music Publishing Inc. The Queen Bey’s choreographer will be copyrighting his signature dance moves under this umbrella and has made history as the first to do so in the process.
“Copyrighting movement is about putting the power back in the artist’s hands,” Knight said to Variety, as part of the announcement. “We set a historic precedent with our ‘Single Ladies’ copyright achievement, and we are thrilled to be launching Knight Choreography & Music Publishing, Inc. so that the next generation of artists are afforded the same platform, resources, and tools to thrive, creatively and financially, in the commercial music industry.”
In recent months, the issue of dance moves being copyrighted has been bandied around by people who have noticed that Black creators on social media aren’t getting credit — or compensation — for moves they’ve come up with.
The best known, recent example is the case of the “Renegade” dance routine, which was created by 14-year-old Jalaiah Harmon of Fayetteville, GA. While the viral dance craze made celebrities and influencers get in on the fun, eyebrows were raised when Harmon wasn’t credited for the creation. Worse yet, influencer Addison Rae Easterling — who goes by Addison Rae on TikTok — along with TikTokers Charli D’Amelio and Dixie D’Amelio, performed the famous “Renegade” dance during the NBA All-Star Dunk Contest alongside Aaron Gordon, leaving Harmon to wallow in obscurity.
Unfortunately, the nonsense did not stop there. Addison Rae even went on to perform dances from Black creatives on Jimmy Fallon’s eponymous show, causing further backlash recently.
While Knight’s company won’t stop TikTok “influencers” from swagger-jacking, it will at least ensure he gets paid when they do so.