Keara Wilson, the TikTok creator who choreographed the viral #SavageChallenge dance, is copyrighting the moves.
Choreographer JaQuel Knight and Logitech joined forces to recognize BIPOC creators, including Wilson, at a dinner Wednesday night in Los Angeles. The partnership helped 10 creators start the process for copyrighting their choreography through labanotation, a method that documents dance steps with symbols in specific patterns, according to their announcement.
"The labanotations is the first step in a complex and challenging process to copyright choreography. The process can take up to 4 months from submission of application to the copyright office for review," a spokesperson for the partnership said.
Wilson created the dance to Megan Thee Stallion's hit song "Savage" in March 2020. It immediately blew up; millions of people tried the moves and posted their own videos on social media, including celebrities like Keke Palmer, Jennifer Lopez, and Megan Thee Stallion herself.
In an interview with Cosmopolitan, Wilson, 20, said it took her one hour to create the dance. After it took off, she started making a living as a TikToker.
According to the announcement, the US Copyright Office receives fewer than 20 applications annually for choreography. Once the "Savage" dance is copyrighted, it added, she should receive proper credit. And if the dance is used in a film production or video game, Wilson will be able to claim payment. She can also take legal action if she doesn't get proper credit.
It's a big win for Black TikTok creators, who have been fighting for proper credit on the app. Charli D'Amelio and Addison Rae Easterling, two of the most popular creators on TikTok, have gained millions of followers from doing dances choreographed by Black creators. Things came to a head when Rae appeared on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon and performed several dances originated by Black TikTokers. Critics said the show did not properly credit the creators and that Rae didn't do the dances justice.
A few weeks ago, several Black creators announced they were protesting the app in an attempt to get recognition for their work.
“I feel that we continue to show that we as Black creators, especially Black femme and Black queer creators, carry the app and drive much of the culture and trends that people are talking about and end up on our For You pages," Daniel Akomolafe, a 19-year-old TikToker better known by his username Uniekue, told BuzzFeed News in June. "I think just from a business POV, it’s in TikTok’s best interest to not just suggest but actually implement changes that make the platform a more safe and enjoyable environment for Black creators."