TikTok dancer Keara Wilson is finally getting the proper recognition she deserves as the creator of the dance to the #SavageChallenge.
Logitech and celebrity choreographer JaQuel Knight went into partnership to select 10 Black, Indigenous and People of Color content creators and help them get their dances copyrighted. They announced the news to the selected dancers, Wilson included, at a dinner that celebrated the dancers for #Creators4BIPOC month.
At the dinner, Knight, who worked with famous artists like Beyoncé, Cardi B., and Megan Thee Stallion said, “I am so thrilled to announce this collaboration with The JaQuel Knight Foundation and Logitech, a remarkable step in our goal toward creating a system of protection for young creators.” He went on to explain that his foundation, which is “a place of support for dancers (during an extremely fragile time in the pandemic, nonetheless),” is meant “to put the power back in the artists’ hands – not just for myself, but for the next JaQuel Knight.”
He continued, “For all of the little boys and girls who look like me. The foundation hopes to impact, encourage, and inspire the next generation of artists, and build a community that supports each other. I am so inspired by this incredible group of choreographers and am so excited to be able to share this historic moment with them as we move toward real change in the commercial music and entertainment industries.”
In addition to Wilson’s copyright being approved, copyright approval came for the Nae Nae Twins, who are famous for creating the Savage Remix Challenge, Young Deji, creator of the “Woah” dance and six others. Each dancer also received labanotations, which, according to Merriam Webster, is “a method of recording bodily movement (as in dance) on a staff by means of symbols (as of direction) that can be aligned with musical accompaniment.”
A grateful Wilson uploaded a short clip of herself and Knight doing her dance she wrote, “OH MY GOSH !! being able to teach one of the greatest choreographers MY dance was the BEST by far!!! 💯🔥❤️ so THANKFUL ‼️ @jaquelknight.” What also made the event special was that all of the other creators got to meet each other as well as another choreographer legend, Debbie Allen, who was in attendance.
Knight has been in the industry choreographing dances for quite some time. He is the creator of the dance in Beyoncé’s famous song and music video “Single Ladies.” Not to mention he also choreographed Cardi B. and Megan Thee Stallion’s dance for “WAP.” Last year, he began taking steps to get his own dances copyrighted and explained to NPR why he believed it was important to do so.
He said, “I felt like it validates our positioning and ownership. What copyrighting does is allow you to still have your hand on it, even after the work is done — so as people go and want to use your IP, use your choreography in feature films, commercials, even on video games, you still have ownership and you should still collect some sort of residual payment for such usage.”
What Knight did for these 10 dancers and himself is very rare. According to the U.S. Copyright Office, out of the 500,000 applications the office has received, only 20 of them have pertained to choreographic works.