On Twitter, people are reacting to a badly recreated meme initially popularized by a Black creator. Created by @heytonytv on TikTok, the meme pokes fun at school officials and was how the original creator became popular on TikTok. The character that he is best known for portraying is a school administrator in a curly brown wig, a pantsuit, an always beeping walky-talky, and a huge set of keys on a ring.
With the hilarious and relatable renditions of school administrators that most people can relate to, @heytonytv garnered over 90 million likes on TikTok and 3.2 million followers. Seeing these high numbers on this account, this most likely inspired other creators to take the idea and use their own spin on it. A Twitter user @_jadorececexo posted one of these renditions that had also gotten popular on TikTok, with the caption “When I tell you Black people cant have NOTHING. I mean it.”
When I tell you black people cant have NOTHING. I mean it pic.twitter.com/MF1lXVMaBn
— ✨ Ce. (@_jadorececexo) September 22, 2021
This TikToker @benjixavier posted them doing what is known as the “front office lady walk” and is extremely similar to the character that Tony’s TikTok had popularized. His character also jingles an enormous set of keys and holds a beeping walky-talky. @Heytonytv had begun his character in February, where @benjixavier’s character seemed to begin in March. Since this tweet began to receive attention, with over 21,000 likes, it has brought up a discussion that the principal character @benjixavier created was stolen.
Every original thing black creators do on that app gets plagiarized. And it’s never funnier. https://t.co/DkuaMb5Ah5
— Bojito (@Bomanizer) September 24, 2021
This opened up the continuing discussion of Black creator’s often having their work not only taken from them but also plagiarized and claimed as one’s own. Many were also commenting about how the renditions of the original video were never funnier or more creative. However, some people did not see the issue or why it was a big deal.
This gatekeeping is just destructive and gets us nowhere. Honestly why is black twitter like this? Why can't people just emulate what they like? We're all products of influence and being so protective over your shit just pulls us back
— Senpai (@pickogang) September 24, 2021
Some on Twitter thought it was not an important thing to discuss and believe that it brought on negative attention. However, other’s voiced their true concerns about how often creators take from Black creators in order to receive likes or popularity. Some tried to complain that @benjixavier had been doing the skits about administrators or principals before, but people were quick to point out that his recent videos have comments of him relating his inspiration to @heytonytv
I would be ashamed to plagiarize someone else’s ideas and publish the subpar version of what they created. Ashamed.
— LOfficielEbony, JD (@LOfficielEbony) September 24, 2021
The frustrations that many have are real, as this would not be the first time a creator has taken an idea or comedy sketch from a Black creator to pose as their own.