#ThisIsBlack: Celebrating the Black community on TikTok
This Black History Month, we've been shining the light on TikTok's Black community and their contributions to the platform and beyond. From the music they create, to the food they cook, we're celebrating this vibrant community who inspires us and the millions of TikTokers around the world.
From an on-platform hashtag to highlight Black history and culture, to an event dedicated to our Black Creator community, read on to learn more about some of the initiatives we've run over the past month.
#ThisIsBlack brought all content into one place on TikTok. Positioned at the top of the Discover page, TikTokers could visit the hashtag to celebrate Black history, culture, content and Creators by learning more about historical events, listening to a TikTok Unpacks, checking out our featured Black-owned businesses, watching Black Creators' latest TikToks and much more. This hashtag put the spotlight on the Black community on TikTok and everything they bring to the platform.
Celebrating our Creators
Creators are the lifeblood of our community - they bring joy and happiness to the platform and inspire creativity amongst our 1 billion monthly active users. And just like our user base, it's important that our Creator community is diverse and representative of its audience. So to celebrate and amplify our Black Creator community, we put the faces of some of our favourite Black Creators on billboards across the UK this month. Whether it's @benjy_lookbook's activism, @_Ehiz's comedy, or @scarysappho's style, this campaign showcased a small piece of our vibrant Creator community, and stands as a good reminder to diversify campaigns to include Black Creators.
Check out the video below for @TheGrubworksKitchen's reaction to seeing their billboard for the first time.
Starting this month, we've launched TikTok Unpacks, a monthly programme where we ask our Creators to unpack some of the key terms we hear in society. Given it's Black History Month, we started by discussing the terms 'colourism' and 'microaggresions' and what they mean, while listening to the experiences of some of our Black Creators.
In the video below, @DJKrystalLake gives us an education on 'colourism'.
#ThisIsBlack Creator Event
As we approached the end of Black History Month, TikTok hosted an event to celebrate our Black Creators. We were joined by Black-owned small businesses that have found fame on TikTok selling their products, enjoyed some of the finest food that has previously gone viral on the platform, and listened to insightful panels with brands and Creators about the experiences the Black community faces on TikTok.
In the final panel of the day, 'The right way for brands to engage with the Black community', host Danny Adedeji was joined by Elorie Palmer, Brand Partnerships Manager at TikTok, and Taiwo Adegbulu & Dr Ope Adegbulu, co-founders of Omolola Jewellery. When asked how they engage with their audience, Taiwo said "We tell our story, and share our experiences. We give our products West African and Caribbean names so that they resonate with our audience." And Dr Ope added "We listen to our audience. If we notice Black women want more hoops, we'll make that happen. We listen as much as possible to Black women as they don't usually get the opportunity to feel seen, so we incorporate that into how we act."
The panel also discussed how brands can better engage with the Black community, to which Dr Ope replied "When you invite them in, don't make them an afterthought by using them for specific campaigns. Let them be a part of the conversation, come up with ideas and express themselves." Elorie followed this up with some advice for brands, saying "Make this part of your long term strategy. Don't just use Black Creators for products specific to the Black community. Set up an organic profile so you can listen to your audience and receive feedback. And use Duets and Stitches to answer your community's questions."
The Dark Lady by Akala LIVE
Akala is a hip hop artist, author and social entrpreneur. Following the success of his Sunday Times bestseller Natives, we're delighted to invite him along to a TikTok LIVE to celebrate the release of his debut novel The Dark Lady. Through the music theatre education company The Hip Hop Shakespeare Company that he co-founded, Akala has explored the social, cultural and linguistic parallels between William Shakespeare's works and that of modern day rappers. Set in Shakespearean London, this brilliant, at times brutal, novel will glue you to your seat as you are hurled into a time when London stank and boys like Henry were forced to find their own route through the tangled streets and out the other side. Akala will be reading a passage of his book and answering questions during a Shoppable LIVE where TikTok users will be able to buy a signed copy of the book without leaving the platform. This LIVE has been rescheduled, which means you'll be able to catch it on TikTok in early November.
TikTok is a sound-on platform, where music trends are born and aspiring artists are discovered. As part of our #ThisIsBlack campaign, we wanted to celebrate the music that Black artists create, the sounds that they inspire, and the impact that Black music has on culture. We also invited the TikTok community to show us what #ThisIsBlackMusic means to them. Head to the #ThisIsBlackMusic hashtag to see how people showed their love for Black artists on TikTok.
Black chef and king of the kitchen, Ainsley Harriott, kicked off the #GoodMoodFood trend by sharing recipes that make your heart sing and encouraging aspiring culinary Creators to recreate his dishes. At the time of writing, this trend has garnered over 66m views! We're thrilled to share that later this year, Ainsley will be joining one of our Creators on a LIVE to cook the finest Caribbean dishes and a recipe from his latest book, Good Mood Food.
Over the last month we've celebrated the Black community on TikTok and everything they bring to the platform. As brands and advertisers, we now need to build on this momentum of Black History Month to ensure we're celebrating and amplifying this community and making positive change all year round.