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TikTok launches program to support Black creatives

NBC News logo NBC News 1/13/2021 Kalhan Rosenblatt
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TikTok announced Wednesday that it has launched an incubator program to promote and foster Black talent on the platform.

"TikTok for Black Creatives" is a three-month initiative that will focus on helping 100 Black creators and music artists develop their talent to help "open doors for them to reach new heights in their careers," the company said.

"Black creators on TikTok have been a driving force for our community, from starting trends to fostering connection to introducing new ways to entertain and inspire others, and we're committed to continuing to elevate and amplify their voices," TikTok said.

The move comes months after TikTok apologized to its Black creators "who have felt unsafe, unsupported, or suppressed" after some Black users raised concerns that their content wasn't being elevated at the same rate as their white counterparts.

In May, users waged an on-app protest, known as the TikTok Blackout, against the suppression of Black voices, as protests against police brutality and racism took place worldwide.

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In its apology, TikTok vowed long-term action to make the platform more diverse and to elevate Black creators.

The immediate reaction from Black creators was mixed, with some saying they noticed an improvement while others saying they felt their content was still being suppressed.

The new program includes motivational town halls with Black entrepreneurs and celebrities, community-building forums and educational events with TikTok executives, according to the company.

TikTok said it is also creating a grant for a select group of creators in partnership with Macro, a media company representing the voices and perspectives of people of color. The grant can be used to fund educational resources, production equipment and other creative tools.

“We are thrilled to partner with TikTok to identify, uplift and support Black creators. The Black creator community on TikTok is at the forefront of driving culture and sparking trends, and Macro is proud to help amplify and showcase their immense talent.” Stacey Walker King, Macro's chief brand officer, said in a statement.

Creators interested in the program have until Jan. 27 to apply, and finalists will be announced in February.


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