TikTok is no stranger to true crime, and Miranda Derrick and the alleged dance cult seem to be the latest target of this fascination. From Gabby Petito’s disappearance and death to the conspiracy theories about Sabrina Prater, social media users have become obsessed with picking apart details and coming up with theories about possible criminals in real-time. But what distinguishes “Dance Cult TikTok” is Miranda’s real-time response to the situation with her own defense.
Miranda’s parents and younger sister Melanie Wilking are now attempting to spread the word about Miranda’s change in behavior and severance of all contact with them for over a year to join a church-based cult, 7M Films. Meanwhile, Miranda is denying their claims and alleging that her family is to blame for their separation, because of their attitude toward her life choices and romantic partner. But 7M Films has a lot more possibly going on behind the scenes — Miranda’s involvement barely scratches the surface.
Who are Miranda Derrick and Melanie Wilking?
To understand how the drama started, you need to know the main players. Miranda Derrick, nee Wilking, is a popular TikTok dancer with a following of over 788,000 people on her @itsmirandaderrick account. Her sister, Melanie Wilking, is also a TikTok dancer with over 3.3 million followers on her own verified account. Miranda is married to James “Bdash” Derrick, another dancer who is a member of the mysterious 7M Films, according to the Daily Beast.
The sisters used to share a joint TikTok account, @wilkingsisters, where they would post dance videos together, but the account seems to have since been deactivated and taken over by a fan posting old videos.
Miranda’s family is convinced she’s in a cult.
On February 24, Melanie sat down with her and Miranda’s parents, Kelly and Dean Wilking, for an Instagram Live to reveal their worries about Miranda’s involvement with 7M Films, a management company that Miranda abruptly joined in January 2021. Melanie claims that she packed her things and underwent a “total change of character,” saying, “She was gone all the time, she wouldn’t tell me where she was. It was not like her.” Miranda’s family believes she is being brainwashed by the Shekinah Church, which is associated with 7M Films (more on that later).
The claims have circulated around TikTok as well. On February 26, Melanie reposted a TikTok from user @gracewe1senbach that claimed Miranda was a “victim of a church-based cult in the LA area and has blocked & cut off all contact with her family since Jan 2021.” The post further claims that Miranda has no control over her own social media and that any negative comments about the church or her involvement are blocked on her page.
Melanie’s added caption to the video reads, “I have hope we will get my sister, and all of the other victims back because unfortunately, we aren’t the only people going through this heartache. I am so overwhelmed with all of the love and support my family and I have received.”
Since revealing their family’s situation to the public, the Wilkings have been using the sisters’ original joint Instagram account, @wilkingsisters, to post updates about their fight to bring Miranda home and to share further information and warnings about cult tactics, including signs you may be in a cult and reminders that Miranda’s situation is not an isolated incident.
Miranda Derrick has since responded to the allegations.
On her own TikTok and Instagram Stories, Miranda posted a lengthy message contradicting her family’s claims and stating that she has been in contact with her family since January 2021. She also places blame on Melanie for “kicking her out” of their joint account after she decided to leave (at that point, the account had a total of 3.1 million followers).
According to Gawker, both Miranda’s statement and her husband Bdash’s statement, which he posted on his own Instagram Stories, claimed that the Wilkings were not supportive of their interracial relationship. Bdash wrote that Miranda’s father Dean had even called the cops on Bdash at one point.
They also both deny being part of a cult. Miranda outright said, “I am not involved in a religious cult,” while Bdash referred to 7M as a “management company that helped me to become successful in a matter of months.” He went on to add that 7M “is not a religious non profit organization but a secular for-profit company run by people who have faith in god,” justifying the company’s financial control over them as “doing business.”
Miranda even went so far as to claim that all members of 7M are in contact with their families, though she speaks to hers less often than she used to “because they were not supportive of the decisions I made.”
Otherwise, she doesn’t seem to be bothered: On March 21, Miranda posted a TikTok with Bdash where they make fun of her family’s accusations. In the video, Bdash hovers in the background dressed in all black and pretending to control her and watch her every move.
7M Films’ association with Shekinah Church suggests it’s more than just a management company.
While Miranda and Bdash argue that 7M Films is kept separate from the other operations of Shekinah Church, others believe it is a cult run by the pastor Robert Shinn. Shinn, according to the Daily Beast, was previously sued by a former member in 2009, who claimed he brainwashed her, forced to cut contact with loved ones, and defrauded her out of millions of dollars, all in the name of obeying God.
TikTokers have broken down the available information on Shekinah Church’s website, including the levels and classes offered, which have similarities to infamous cult NXIVM, and the group’s mission to “save one billion souls.”
According to Rolling Stone, many social media users have also pointed out the peculiar name of the company: 7M stands for the Seven Mountains Mandate among conservative religious Christians, and refers to seven different areas in which they want Christians to take charge of. This belief in a “God-given authority” has also been associated with right-wing political strategy, as noted by CBC. These seven “mountains” include both media and entertainment, which may be where 7M Films comes in.
TikTokers are not new at playing detective.
As more people start paying attention to and doing their own research on the case, it’s important to note this isn’t the first time social media has gotten their hands on a strange case — many might remember the internet uproar over the disappearance and murder of Gabby Petito in 2021, where misinformation spread like wildfire as social media users attempted to work faster than the police to uncover what happened.
However, there does seem to be more concern about avoiding the spread of false information this time around. The Wilkings have been relying on the assistance of Katie Joy, also known as KJ or Without A Crystal Ball, a YouTuber best known for her coverage of celebrity drama like that of Tati Westbrook and James Charles. Many of the comments on posts from the @wilkingsisters account urge Melanie and her family to hire a professional private investigator with credibility, rather than Without a Crystal Ball, who was sued by Westbrook for harassment after releasing court papers that showed Westbrook was being sued by her former business partner.
“If you want to be taken seriously, I wouldn’t have this woman cover the story,” one commenter wrote. “She’s not credible at all!”
“Please oh please don’t believe Katie Joy. Anyone that has dealt with her has lived to regret it,” another wrote. “She never helped anyone except digging up personal info then blasting it. She only cares about money.”