Black Influencers: Proposed TikTok Ban Threatens to Limit Exposure, Financial Opportunities for Black Brands

TikTok has become the mega app for social media users to market their brands to a massive audience. However, influencers don’t know what to make of the changes they fear could come their way on the content platform.

Black influencers opened up about how a possible ban on the platform in the U.S. could affect their livelihoods.

According to Forbes, Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) recently introduced legislation to completely block and prohibit transactions from all social media companies within or under the influence of foreign countries that have sparked concerns, including China and Russia.

“We know [TikTok] is used to manipulate feeds and influence elections,” Rubio said in a statement.

“We know it answers to the People’s Republic of China. There is no more time to waste on meaningless negotiations with a CCP-puppet company. It is time to ban Beijing-controlled TikTok for good.”

This could spell trouble for Black creators like those who relocated to Atlanta, a hotspot for influencers or the Black influencers of the Collab Crib who gave up their college careers and 9 to 5 jobs to create full-time.

“Many people have been able to gain income through the creator fund as well as different brand deals,” TikToker Simone Umba, who owns SimplySimone and works full-time as an influencer in digital creation spaces, said in a statement. “The ban will have a domino effect because when you have one state do something, the other ones are going to look at it and say that that plan is adaptable for them.”


#greenscreen #szabigboys

♬ original sound – SZASUNIVERSE

Pandemic skater and hip-hop dancer “KateraCouch, who has gained over 1 million likes and 74,200 followers on TikTok, believes the ban isn’t solely about protecting national security.

“It’s like everything good we have, they take from us,” Couch says. “Look at what they did to Jalaiah [Harmon] and that was right here in Atlanta. Those girls went on to have millions of followers and deals that they gained off the backs of Black creators. Now that all the white people are rich, they are ready to ban the app.”

Fox 55 reported in June that the Black influencers of the Collab Crib, a group of content creators under one house, cashes in on the platform, helping them pay for their monthly rent and other bills. The members are not signed to talent agencies, so they use social media to market themselves.

“We have a strategy, and that strategy is to work 100 times harder than everyone else,” said Keith Dorsey, the Collab Crib’s manager.

“We’re young Black creatives, and we do this on our own. We’ve become our own agency,” Dorsey added, sharing a 2021 study that found that Black content creators make less than their white counterparts and barely get credit for their original content.

TikTok has attracted a monthly rate of more than 80 million users in the United States. Reportedly, more than half of the platform’s users are under the age of 34 or identify as millennials. Globally, Black users make up nearly 30% of the total users on the app.