1. Loren Gray (@lorengray) 53.6 million
Considered among the top TikTok influencers Loren Gray is an American TikTok influencer and singer. She uses TikTok to share dance videos and lip-sync videos to amass a huge following. Because of her huge following, she was featured in Taylor Swift’s music video ‘The Man’ and was even able to land on partnership deals with Revlon, Skechers, Hyundai, and Burger King.
2. Rodrigo Contreras (@elrodcontreras) 34.5 million
Rodrigo Contreras is a Mexican TikTok star who posts mostly dance and lip-sync videos. Born in Aruba the influencer was even nominated for Favorite TikToker at the 2020 Kids’ Choice Awards in México. He endorses various brands and collaborates with various TikTok influencers.
3. Charli D’Amelio (@charlidamelio) 122 million
Charli D’Amelio made headlines in November 2020, when just at 16 years of age he became the first TikTok star to hit over 100 million followers. is officially TikTok’s biggest star. After launching her channel in June 2019, D’Amelio rocketed to the top of TikTok in just a matter of months through choreographed dances to music videos. Since then the American social media personality has succeeded in getting a spot in Hype House, a cameo appearance in a Super Bowl commercial, and a contract with a premier talent agency.
4 . Taylor Cassidy J (@taylorcassidyj) 2.1 million
Taylor Cassidy J has built a huge following thanks to her videos on positivity and self-love, particularly related to black history and social justice. Her videos have regularly topped millions of views and she was even honored at the 2020 Streamy Awards.
Black TikTok influencers don’t earn nearly as much as their white counterparts, one of many problems they face in the influencer industry.
“This year, I’m projected to make seven figures. But let’s see if Forbes is going to put that on there.”
There’s a reason why content creator and influencer Drea Okeke singled out Forbes while disclosing how much she earns during our Zoom interview. At the top of the year, the publication released a report on TikTok’s top-earning creators, explaining that its top-five ranking process was based on “what the TikTokers earned from January 1, 2021, through December 31, 2021,” and required its creators to have “a minimum of $4.75 million in earnings.” It came as a surprise that not even one Black TikTok influencer had been included. No Khaby Lame, the Senegalese-born influencer who is now the most followed person on the platform, surpassing Charli D’Amelio,
a white influencer who ranked at no. 1 on Forbes’ list. And no Jalaiah Harmon, the teenage dancer and content creator behind the viral “Renegade” dance that was co-opted by influencers on Forbes’ list including D’Amelio and no. 3 top earner Addison Rae, a white dancer who faced controversy when she performed TikTok dances on The Tonight Show without crediting its creators (many of whom are Black).
Before sharing how much she makes as an influencer, Okeke offered her opinion on how someone like Lame wouldn’t be included on Forbes’ list, pointing the blame on journalists who aren’t doing the research of finding the creators who aren’t already being highlighted in the mainstream media. (At the time of being published, Lame was the second-most followed person on TikTok.) Whether Okeke is wrong or right, the list brought up past grievances Black creators on TikTok have expressed, which culminated in the “strike” that many participated in last year to draw attention to how essential Black creators are to the platform. But it also highlights the disparity between Black and white TikTok influencers, with many of them not receiving the same earnings (and access to the opportunities that could lead to those earnings) as their counterparts.