Protect the work you produce

Dear Qur’an,

It was revealed recently that the new viral “Renegade” dance was originally choreographed by 14-year-old Jalaiah Harmon. Charli D’Amelio, TikTok’s biggest homegrown star, with nearly 30 million followers on the platform, has been affectionately deemed the dance’s “C.E.O.” for popularizing it. How do you suppose young creatives protect their art and ideas from being stolen?

Dear Copycat Cathy,

TikTok has become a major social media outlet in less than a year. The app generates new content and new influencers, verifying them with a blue check and opportunities. We often see artists in different mediums becoming victims of theft from bigger platforms. We see this in fashion, music, dance and culture. Those who can see the potential to profit, will. From Elvis and Big Mama Thorton, Jennifer Lopez and Ashanti, Fashion Nova and almost any up and coming boutique, we see bigger entities feed off the little guy. 

My advice is to be your best customer. Never stop making ideas, sketching, writing or building. Always support your work, find other people to support you and when no one wants to, support yourself some more. 

Be loud. When you see fraudulence on the timeline, speak out. When you see big companies and influencers leaching on smaller brands, defend them. 

Make sure whenever you collaborate with anyone you receive credit for your contribution. 

Your work is an extension of yourself. The time spent perfecting that craft deserves recognition and compensation if there is a demand.  

The name Kayla Lewis may not ring a bell, but I am sure the phrase “on fleek” takes you down memory lane. Kayla Lewis, aka Peaches Monroee, made that iconic Vine six years ago, leaving an impact on pop culture. Lewis was left unknown and uncompensated for her coined phrase. We see this happen too many times to so many young talents. 

Jalaiah Harmon is a perfect example of being robbed of your talent. Imitation can be offensive, but luckily, Twitter handled the situation in less than 48 hours, getting Harmon her shine and her coin. She performed at the NBA all-star game and Ellen and is now TikTok verified. 

Alexa, play “Crank That” by Soulja Boy Tell’em. 

Protect your neck,

Qur’an

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