During the 11 minute and 23 second segment, Fallon interviewed dance creators Mya Nicole Johnson, Chris Cotter, Dorien Scott, Fur-Quan Powell, Camyra Franklin, Adam Snyder, Nate Nale, Greg Dahl and Keara Wilson via video chat, though he did not ask about Rae or the episode in which she appeared.
Rae is one of TikTok’s most popular creators, with more than 79 million followers, and appeared on the March 26 episode, days after the release of her debut single, “Obsessed.” During the dance segment, Fallon held up cue cards with the name of each dance written on them while Rae danced.
Many criticized the segment for not crediting the original creators, pointing out that most of them are Black.
“This is a miss,” tweeted “The View” co-host Sunny Hostin. “Let’s give credit to the black creators……”
As another Twitter user put it, “The fact they have no idea how offensive this is, is sickening. This is systemic racism at its finest. This white women is benefiting from a broken system & was highlighted on national TV, while the choreographers & actual artists that made the songs weren’t even mentioned smh.”
After her segment aired, Rae told TMZ it would have been difficult to credit the creators.
“I think they were all credited in the original YouTube posting, but it’s kinda hard to credit during the show,” Rae said. “But they all know that I love them so much and I mean, I support all of them so much. And hopefully one day we can all meet up and dance together.”
Neither Rae nor Fallon responded to The Washington Post’s request for comment.
The idea of imitation is built into TikTok, as users often create and share original audio or video, such as songs or dances, and others offer their own spin on them. Complications arise when these imitations find their way into the real world, often via the platform’s most popular stars — not the original creators.
The controversy surrounding Rae and Fallon might feel like déjà vu. Rae and Charli D’Amelio, TikTok’s most popular creator, came under fire in February 2020 for popularizing a “Renegade,” a dance created by then 14-year-old Black creator Jalaiah Harmon — without crediting her. The pair were invited to perform at take part in the NBA All-Star festivities. Following Internet backlash, the NBA eventually invited Harmon to perform at the All-Star Game itself.
On “The Tonight Show” Monday, just before performing her dance to Megan Thee Stallion’s “Savage,” Keara Wilson said she’s been excited to see the choreography blow up during the past year.
“I just did it for fun, honestly. Then I just kept seeing it grow. Celebrities were doing it. Little kids were doing it. It was the best,” Wilson told Fallon. “But I would have to say, seeing my dance bring people joy through quarantine was the best part.”