The Brief: TikTokers are creating videos about injustice and violence to a remix of the song "This Is America." While many videos raise awareness about serious issues, others have been criticized for suggesting that privileged people are facing oppression.
This Is America On TikTok
THIS IS AMERICA #justiceforahmaud
The lyrics featured in these videos go:
This is America (Skrrt, skrrt, woo)
Don’t catch you slippin’ now (Ayy)
Look how I’m livin’ now
Police be trippin’ now (Woo)
Yeah, this is America (Woo, ayy)
Guns in my area (Word, my area)
I got the strap (Ayy, ayy)
Now they always say, “Congratulations” (Congratulations)
Worked so hard, forgot how to vacation (Ooh)
They ain’t never had the dedication (Uh, uh, ayy)
People hatin’, say we changed and look we made it (Uh, uh)
Yeah, we made it (Uh, uh, uh, yeah)
Many activists used this sound to highlight issues including racism, police brutality, gun violence, xenophobia, sexism, and homophobia, echoing the sentiments expressed by Childish Gambino in his song and its accompanying music video. In these videos, creators act-out the injustice and violence that people of color and other marginalized individuals face. By including serious and potentially triggering content, these videos make bold statements about the violence and injustices that occur in the U.S. on a daily basis.
“This Is America” TikToks often end with the creator raising their fist in the air as a symbol of solidarity, resistance, and/or Black Power.
This one goes out to all the victims of America. (Fake blood/tw)
This sound and video style were initially used by activists to spread awareness about the Black Lives Matter movement and the ways in which the systems in the United States uphold violent hetero-patriarchy, white supremacy, and imperialism. Some creators, specifically white creators, have used this trend to suggest that they are the only “real” victims of oppression. These videos, which have been widely criticized in the comments sections and on Twitter for belittling the experiences of marginalized people and for centering them around white, privileged people instead.
After facing backlash for several videos in which she acted-out the discrimination and violence directed towards marginalized groups of which she is not part of (in an apparent attempt to raise awareness about these issues), TikToker @definitelynotalinelson posted an apology video.
In response to some of these videos, TikToker @benrobiinnson created a parody in which he starts out implying that “straight white Christian males” are oppressed before yelling “psych.”
stan instead: pic.twitter.com/Xa5hX0H1fE
— alia is at home (@AliaGClark) May 20, 2020