Black creators worries go deeper than just getting dance credits or more branded offers. “We’re being exploited, and that’s the core problem blacks have always had with labor,” said Louis. “Those millions of likes, that should all translate into something. How do we get the real money, power, and fair compensation that we deserve? “
According to Li Jin, founder of Atelier, a venture firm investing in the creator economy, these tensions result from systemic inequalities in the online creator industry. “The issue here is property,” she said. “The working class is disenfranchised and has no ownership of the means of creation and distribution.”
More and more creators, especially those from the marginalized, are looking at the skyrocketing ratings of tech companies and rethinking their relationships with particular platforms.
“People are realizing that these tech companies are worth so much, that they are so valued, and that the technology CEOs and employees are so rich,” said Ms. Jin. “But the platform participants, the makers, have been left out of this equation. There is an undertone of economic inequality that is by and large the issue of our time. “
“My hope is that we will realize that this is a whole class of work that wasn’t there before,” she added. “If we do not offer this class of worker protection and rights, they will increasingly be disenfranchised.”
Kaelyn Kastle, 24, a Black content creator and a member of the Crib Collab, said she did not participate in the strike but supports what it represents. “The strike is to send a message. The business models of these apps have overburdened and underpaid us out here, ”she said. “We work long hours, but at the end of the day we still earn little or nothing and we black creators even less.”