Jason Derulo has been doing the most these last couple of months in lockdown. And I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, I just never expected at the start of this that he’d be one of the people consistently lighting up the timeline. It’s because of his TikToks – most recently the one with him eating corn on the cob off a power-drill and chipping his tooth. Which was fake, and not even the first time he pulled a fakeout with his teeth.
My favourite of Jason’s TikTok challenges is the one with the pants.
That is some real skill, not to be attempted by amateurs and anyone without a vertical – that would be me. It is physically impossible for me to leave the ground. Jason, clearly, can leave the ground, easily. And he’s currently enjoying more success during quarantine with all this TikTok creativity than he did for being in Cats, LOL.
What’s interesting about TikTok creativity though is that, well, sometimes the creator doesn’t get credit. Dances and challenges go viral so quickly that it’s not uncommon for the original poster to get lost in the wave. Vox covered the “thorny ethics” of TikTok a couple of months ago, a new chapter in the ongoing question of content stealing – from memes and jokes and more – across social media. The simple truth is that not enough people credit. As a content creator myself, this makes me crazy.
Which brings us back to Jason Derulo. He’s an artist himself, he should know about crediting. And he’s being called out for sampling a piece of music for his new song “Savage Love” featured in a recent TikTok but not crediting the 17-year-old musician from New Zealand, Joshua Stylah, who created it. As Vulture pointed out, “credit where credit is due has always been an issue for the teens on TikTok, but for the 30-year-old Jason Derulo, it shouldn’t be that hard”.
Joshua Stylah’s original track is called “Laxed (Siren Beat)” and, per Variety, “it has become TikTok’s most explosive viral track” in which he “salutes his Samoan and Cook Island heritage with the song by referencing “685” midway through (the calling code for Samoa) which has sparked users to post “Culture Dance” videos in which they celebrate their heritage by dancing to the song and wearing costumes reflecting their roots”. Sources tell Variety though that Jason “went rogue” and didn’t wait for clearance before using it. Which is gross. But it could be grosser because Joshua Stylah has enough of a following and his song had built up enough awareness that people knew to identify his work and point it out – and he’s still having his work stolen by an artist with even more mainstream name recognition. So imagine the case for creatives out there with much smaller followings.
I know some kids who love TikTok for what it is – if they even hear about this – might be all like, whatever olds, let us have our fun. And for sure, nobody wants to be spoil the fun. That’s why TikTok so far has been such a great space for creativity, because it’s all coming out of fun. At the same time, that fun comes to a hard stop when someone else is getting shine for the thing you came up with. Nobody knows what the answer is and whether or not TikTok can even address this as it continues to grow (until it doesn’t because kids are getting tired of olds invading their hangouts). The old-fashioned approach would just be to encourage more crediting. And, also, if you’re the one coming up with the idea – take the credit, it’s yours. This, by the way, can be difficult for women. Here’s a podcast from Harvard Business Review on “The Art of Claiming Credit”, which may be especially useful now when people are working from home, and so much of our work is online, and perhaps even more unseen than usual.
Yours in gossip,