Truly a Renegade
Jalaiah Harmon has been an Internet sensation with what is now known as the Renegade to K CAMP’s “Lottery,” but she initially failed to receive credit for the wildly successful choreography. She began to lose hope on receiving recognition for the viral dance as TikTok stars like Charli D’Amelio and celebrities, including Lizzo and Alex Rodriguez, posted their own renditions with no acknowledgement to its original creator. “I was taught that everything happens for a reason,” she says. “Of course, I wanted people to know I was the original creator, but so many people were doing the dance and posting videos of it that it was hard for people to know who to give credit to once it went viral. That’s not anyone’s fault.”
Although Harmon’s humble perspective is impressive for a 15-year-old, her story tells an all-too-familiar narrative of Black creators failing to be recognized for their content. It appeared that Harmon would become yet another Black creator to never be recognized for her work. However, in February, K CAMP invited Harmon to his studio to record a video of her performing the dance as he sat behind fist-pumping in support. “She deserves everything she’s getting right now, man,” said the rapper in his video, also honoring Black History Month. Harmon was then asked to perform the dance at the NBA All-Star Game and was invited by Ellen DeGeneres to appear on her show.
While she has now received credit for her choreography, Harmon still hopes for equal representation of creators of color. “I believe social-media platforms can support Black and brown influencers by providing the same opportunities and recognition to us as they do to white influencers because we haven’t given a reason to anyone to feel like we don’t deserve success,” she shares. “I have used my following to spread positivity by continuing to do what I love, which is to entertain others through dance. Dancing makes people feel good, so since we’ve been stuck inside because of the coronavirus, that’s what I felt like I could do to send positive energy to the world.”
Harmon plans to continue taking master classes and training to keep growing as a dancer and creator; she would like to become a famous choreographer and open her own dance studio: “As a young, Black, female influencer, my message [to fellow Black creators and hopeful influencers] would be to keep putting your talent out there, fight for what you work hard for, and never give up on something you are passionate about because people are watching you,” she affirms.
Writer: Grace Callahan
Photographer & Videographer: Katie Coon
Editor: Eiko Watanabe
Special thanks to EPK Media (@myepk & @epkmedia - epkmedia.com)