Photo: Jason Schmidt, Drake in Architectural Digest
  /  04.08.2020

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.

How many times have you seen a TikTok video upload on your Instagram story or feed? Social media has always been a way to formulate a distraction away from financial issues, annoying coworkers and relationship issues. Let’s think about it. When we need an escape, we head to Instagram for a quick scroll, Twitter for a 160-character vent or peek at the comment section of the latest Facebook video gone viral. Now that we’re forced into social distancing with the world on lockdown and police-enforced curfews, our only form of social interaction is Club Quarantine with DJ D-Nice or IG battles between music greats. Social media to the rescue, am I right?

COVID-19 did not come to play and with everything being closed, TikTok has been sweeping the nation — and world. Generation Z, as well as millennials, are coping with social distancing and preventing mental health disparities of social isolation, anxiety and depression by creating 15-second videos that help encourage the rise of hip hop in the digital space.

Digital media and the app are rising to the top of everyone’s daily to-do lists with Megan Thee Stallion’s #SavageChallenge, Drake’s #ToosieSlideChallenge, Ceraadi’s #SecureTheBagChallenge, DaniLeigh’s #LeviHighChallenge and more. The relationship between TikTok and hip hop has come in to save the day.

While TikTok, previously known as, isn’t necessarily offering anything new that Instagram, Vine and Twitter haven’t already been doing. What it has done successfully is marry all of the key popular features into one compacted place. According to Business Insider, as of October 2019, TikTok had over 1.2 billion downloads with the main demographic being Generation Z. With this app’s popularity taking off at lighting speed, it has cultivated a community of young adults and teens with a sense of confidence, and need to be seen while integrating top rap hits. We’re willing to bet that you’ve seen at least three families bless your timeline today with the #SomethingNewChallenge featuring Wiz Khalifa and Ty Dolla $ign’s single.

TikTok gives people the sense of being in a music video and taking a step into the limelight, as they dance to a hot song. There, everyone’s an influencer and susceptible to being lured down a rabbit hope — an endless pit of entertainment. On this special app, you can be a creative, an entrepreneur, social media star and entertainer all in one, while also serving as an involuntary ambassador for one of the latest hits on the charts.

Prior to the pandemic — with the #RenegadeChallenge as a prime example — this viral sensation opened up the TikTok community from beyond the average teenager, and to celebrities and influencers’ from artist Lizzo to actress Millie Bobby Brown. Even reality star Kourtney Kardashian joined in on the fun with her son, Mason.

The #RenegadeChallenge pulled the everyday social media goer into the app to engage in the challenge that was the 15-second dance created by Jalaiah Harmon. However, the TikTok campaign couldn’t be complete without the signature track “Lottery (Renegade)” by Atlanta rapper and songwriter K Camp. With Harmon’s video now having millions of views, we can pretty much assume that Generation Z has served as a good portion of the streams and downloads, as they practice the dance in their living rooms before posting videos on their own feeds. This is a sole example that this app’s ecosystem is solely dependent upon music and teenagers. TikTok is pretty much hip hop’s free marketing agency and Generation Z is the brand manager seeding out the content.

Of course, we can’t help that every time we turn on the news, we see updates from 45 himself or other government officials about COVID-19, and it knocks us down to our knees a bit more. We feel defeated, confined and hopeless. But, social media’s boost amid the chaos has strapped a temporary bandaid over the turmoil that we’re experiencing. TikTok allows Generation Z and millennials to develop a sense of community with others who feel trapped in their homes, while potentially propelling an artist’s next single into the top 40 charts. Today’s generation now has the power to decide the next banger that will sweep the nation by posting fun dance videos. Who’s next up on the TikTok timelines?


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