History | February 28, 2021 1:41 pm

A Growing Number of Artists Are Using TikTok to Teach Black History

They're using the platform in innovative ways as well

TikTok
A smartphone with the logo of social network Tik Tok.
LOIC VENANCE / AFP via Getty Images

When you think of TikTok and what it’s used for, what comes to mind? A song suddenly going viral, perhaps, or a comedian using the medium for memorable and incisive satire. But those aren’t the only things people are doing via the social network in question — and a growing number of artists and creators are utilizing TikTok to educate viewers about notable figures and moments in Black history.

At the Los Angeles Times, Arit John explored how a number of artists are using the medium in innovative and informative ways. One of the creators discussed is Kahlil Greene, a Yale student whose Hidden History series spotlights “the creepy, crazy and/or covered-up parts of American history.” This includes one particularly memorable episode about the origins of George Washington’s replacement teeth.

Other creators have addressed more contemporary figures – for instance, Taylor Cassidy’s Fast Black History includes an episode about the life of Barack Obama. The Times article notes that Cassidy recently signed a deal with WME, and it isn’t hard to see why: she’s a charismatic narrator and guide through different moments in history.

In the article, John notes that TikTok has had issues with some creators’ work. “Black creators have noted that clips addressing racism are sometimes flagged as hate speech by the app,” John writes — something that’s frustrated some creators and prompted others to find workarounds. All told, though, TikTok has proven to be an innovative method of educating viewers about the past — and demonstrating the ingenuity and knowledge of the creators involved.

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