Keith Lee is redirecting the spotlight to two Black women creators.
On TikTok, the food critic revealed sandwich chains Jimmy John’s and Quiznos had reached out to him after he posted videos trying out their offerings, an idea he picked up from other creators on the platform.
Instead of accepting the incentives, Lee wanted to give the rightful credit to the TikTokers who first amplified the food products that went viral.
“Us as creators and brands have a responsibility, and we have to do proper due diligence to give credit where credit is due. I did that like I always do, but when brands come in and they don’t do that, it erases what I do,” Lee said in a video.
Oftentimes, outrage is sparked when well-known creators land brand deals and other benefits that come from a trend that originated from a creator with a smaller following. However, advocating on the behalf of the creator who kickstarted the latest craze will hold companies accountable and ensure they compensate the very creators who are bringing them greater visibility.
“I only want to work with people who are willing to take that step to give credit and respect,” Lee continued. “With that being said, Quiznos if you wanna work with me, Jimmy John’s if you wanna work with me, you reach out to those women and then you reach out to me. Any brands that are watching this and are interested in working with Keith, I stand on integrity. I stand on respect. God is amazing. I am not in this specifically for money. I am in this to take care of my family and what takes care of my family is me being me. But I will not deter who I am for any amount of money or any opportunity. I only want what’s mine. Nothing more and nothing less. Reach out to the women.”
TikToker shares hopeful update: In an update shared on Feb. 15, @zalexandriaa revealed Quiznos’ management team did reach out to her and offered to provide her merchandise and gift cards. This follows after the company used her viral hack and marketed it on their Instagram, with some followers already commenting to pay the creator.