Forbes has just released its list of highest TikTok earners. And in the news that should shock no one (though by no means does it make it any less annoying), exactly zero of the top earners on the platform are Black.
Even worse, the top earners on the platform are getting opportunities that aren’t available to their Black counterparts. For example, Variety reports that Charli and Dixie D’Amelio — sisters who have made more than $20 million, combined, on the popular social media platform — have secured their own show courtesy of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s Westbrook Media. They also had their own Hulu reality show, and have secured countless endorsement deals.
What’s more, TikTok’s top influencers can charge a pretty penny for a sponsored post. According to Variety, most of the top influencers charge an average of $100,000 to $250,000 per post, with a top influencer charging $500,000 for just one sponsored post.
Yet, Black TikTok stars are just as formidable as their white counterparts. As AfroTech previously reported, one of the top accounts belongs to Khaby Lame, who has nearly 127 million followers on the platform as of this writing. (For purposes of comparison, Dixie D’Amelio has only 56.7 million followers on her account, and Charli D’Amelio has 133 million followers — just about 6 million more than Lame. Yet, Lame didn’t even make the list of top earners on the platform, while Charli took the No. 1 spot).
And when Black creators get on the app and create viral challenges, they often have to fight for their fair share of the profits. There’s no better example of this than the story of Keara Wilson, who created the viral #SavageChallenge for TikTok.
As Afrotech previously reported, Wilson — who created the #SavageChallenge to Megan’s “Savage” single early last year — attended a dinner celebration for #Creators4BIPOC month and was surprised to learn she earned the copyrights for her viral dance with help from Logitech and award-winning choreographer JaQuel Knight.
the ONE & only…. @jaquelknight 💗💗💗 Thank you Thank you so much! & @logitech ❤️ Savage Dance is officially COPYRIGHTED! i own my dance 😭‼️
And while that’s certainly great news, it’s worth noting that Wilson got the copyrights one year after originally creating the challenge.
Who were TikTok's top earners?
Forbes reports that TikTok’s highest earners included Charli D’Amelio (who takes the top spot on the list with a $17.5 million payday), her sister Dixie (No. 2, $10 million), Kardashian protegée Addison Rae (No. 3, $8 million), Bella Poarch (No. 4, $5 million — tied with Josh Richards for the same salary), and Kris Collins (No. 5, $4.75 million — tied with Avanni Greg for the same salary).