You may have read the headlines.
“How the Internet Became a Playground for Exploiting Black Creators,” Vice reports.
“TikTok Was Built on the Backs of Black Creators. Why Can’t They Get Credit?” Elle asks.
“Marketers Are Underpaying Black Influencers While Pushing Black Lives Matter,” Bloomberg notes.
You may have seen it on your own feeds. Brands leveraging anti-racist artwork and perspectives to build clout, but not paying their creators their worth. Maybe you work at a brand in the creator economy and you’ve noticed that Black influencers are underpaid relative to payouts to other influencers or platforms. Maybe you’re simply wondering about the wide gap in organizations and individuals who posted black squares in June 2020 and the world we live in now.
Beneath the headlines is a history of appropriation of Black culture – and today, due to the ease of copying and downloading work online, digital creators are faced with cultural theft on a mass scale. Each theft takes more than intellectual property: creative theft also robs creators of opportunity.
“I think one of the dangers of theft and appropriation of Black art and creativity is the loss of potential, “ says Skillshare teacher Hallease Narveaz. “So much about being a creative and getting opportunities is about being in the right place at the right time with the right skills and knowing the right people. And so every time there is a theft, it takes away that opportunity to be seen that much more. It’s already difficult for us.”
As a player in the creator economy ourselves, we believe it’s our responsibility to create a level playing field for creators across backgrounds and disciplines. This month, we asked Black creatives to share their experiences of credit and compensation with us, and with you. Together with our Skillshare community, our hope is to help bring an end to rampant appropriation in the industry and advocate for equal and fair compensation from brands through thoughtful sharing and sourcing of Black creativity.
All month long, we’ll be spotlighting Black Creatives on all of our platforms. We’ll be answering questions like:
- What is the difference between cultural appropriation and appreciation?
- How can businesses and non-Black creators properly give credit and honor Black creativity?
- What are the dangers of appropriation/theft and how does it negatively affect Black creatives both financially and mentally?
Credit Black Creativity: A Skillshare Class List
This month, we asked the Skillshare community to share their favorite classes from Black creatives. Here’s what they had to say:
Steff Reed on Nedra Tawwab
I first was introduced to Nedra on Instagram, via her mental health and wellness memes and posts. They are always so so insightful, thoughtful and positive. What I loved most about her Skillshare course is that it’s empowering and helps give you the tools to take your power back. I am grateful for Nedra, her mission and the work that she has been called to do.
Eva Woolridge on Karen Jordan
I am a huge fan of animation and want to explore this creative world more intentionally. I think TikTok is a perfect, hands-on platform to experiment with new animated creations. And it’s always amazing to see Black animators intertwine blackness with their creations. Representation matters and I am looking for a teacher who will include my life experience when teaching methods of creating animation.
How to Support Black Creatives
If you’re looking to further your commitment, expand your understanding, and support Black creatives, we welcome you to explore the following organizations. Whether it’s donating money, time, or even just sharing their mission and contributions with your community, we encourage you to follow and support: