Only white influencers are on Forbes’ Top-Earning TikTok-ers list, excluding most-followed Black creators like Khaby Lame.
Black TikTok creators are amiss on from a new highest-paid influencer list on Forbes. Titled ‘Top-Earning TikTok-ers 2022’, Forbes has ranked some of the platform’s most notable figures that collectively hauled in $55.5 million last year, a 200% increase from 2020.
However, the list doesn’t share room with Black influencers although Senegalese-born TikToker Khaby Lame boasts nearly 127 million followers. This is just six million shy of white TikTok influencer Charli D’Amelio, who has 133 million followers on the app and was ranked at #1 on the Forbes list. With their TikTok clout, white influencers have pulled beauty campaigns, record deals and multi-film deals.
In the article, Forbes provided a statement on their ranking process:
“We look at the top-earning stars whose fame originated first on TikTok. This leaves out other celebrities active on the app, like Will Smith and Jason DeRulo. From there, our numbers estimate what the TikTokers earned from January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2021. This is different from our debut list in 2020, which calculated earnings from July 2019 through July 2020. Another difference: That initial ranking was a snapshot of who we thought had earned a million dollars from TikTok during those 12 months. With sponsored content rates up, a million isn’t hard to do anymore, which is why this new Top 5 list requires a minimum of $4.75 million in earnings, a point several times greater than our original roll’s cutoff.”
The list and statement is a far cry from Black TikTok creators who announced they were going on strike last year. With viral trends co-opted and appropriated by white creators, a number of Black creators protested the mismanagement of their content.
“People still need to acknowledge Black creators and not ignore us in any community that we partake in,” said TikTok user Jazmine Moore. “To not belittle us or demonize our content for their amusement. We have each other in the long run and will succeed collectively as a family.”