TikTok no longer feels like it’s just the second coming of Vine. In addition to those digestible snippets of pure entertainment, TikTok has also become a popular place for discourse. Anything that needs to be said with a free-flowing mind and an open heart can find a place on the app, so it’s no surprise these days that TikTok has found its place for activism. TikTok activists have prioritized sharing their takes on social and political injustices, giving other users the chance to hear about issues they may not otherwise learn about in ways that can be informative, sincere, and candid. If you’re looking to get into the activism side of TikTok, here are seven of my favorite accounts to follow.
Outspoken, unafraid, and fascinating, Riya Gopal is a true South Indian queen. The Boston University student speaks on problems in the South Asian community that are often swept under the rug, including the anti-Black discourse that’s present in the South Asian community, experiencing relationships as a POC,and South Asian exclusion during AAPI month.
Bambi, a British-Indian model and influencer, gives her takes on subjects like religious and cultural appropriation, racism in the UK, and Hinduphobia. During the thick of India’s Covid crisis, she made multiple videos aimed at educating her viewers on the severity of the situation.
Sophia Smith Galer’s daytime job is as a reporter for BBC World News, and this nature journalist has combined her skills to become the first BBC journalist to experiment with TikTok. “I use my social media skills and languages to cover everything from New York’s Instagram witches to a miracle altar in Beirut…” Galer writes on her website.
Niamh often uses her TikTok platform to speak on topics that pertain specifically to the Muslim community. She makes videos that talk about Islamophobia in the UK and France, and is also known to give her two cents on the political circuit in the UK.
The YEARS Project is an official non-profit organization that uses multimedia and digital storytelling techniques to inform the public about the effects of social media. The YEARS Project is committed to sharing the truth about climate change, and though their presence on Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube is strong, their TikTok is still growing – so make sure to give them a follow to keep up with their takes on the climate crisis.
Haatepah Clearbear is an Indigenous rights activist, and uses his platform on TikTok to educate his followers on Indigenous culture and heritage. He also makes videos on the historical injustices Natives have faced in history as well as the injustices they continue to face today.
Clearbear recently told CBS that the positive Indigenous representation that TikTok now provides would have helped him develop a stronger sense of pride in his identity as a child, so now he strives to use his platform to provide adequate Indigenous cultural awareness – an awareness that many Americans lack.
Lily is an advocate for sustainability, but she also takes into account that being a perfectly ideal environmentalist may not be realistic for everyone – hence the name! She shares doable tips and tricks that promote fashion and lifestyle sustainability, like properly caring for your clothes to make them last longer or learning how to ethically consume while still being realistic and on a budget, and educates her audience on how fast fashion companies can be exploitative.
Social media activism is so important right now, especially since the pandemic has prevented us from gaining exposure from IRL experiences over the last year. The access to resourceful information that these creators provide can help thousands educate themselves to learn more about contemporary politics, marginalized communities, sustainability and more.