TikTok historian Kahlil Greene explains how 'Gen Z trends' whitewash Black culture

Kahlil Greene, a senior studying history at Yale University, could be considered one of TikTok's first historians. He's a creator himself, best known for his posts about America's hidden history. Lately, though, he's shifted his focus to current events. As a member of TikTok's target demographic, Greene has made it his mission to explain the true roots of many of the trends on the app . "I often mention how Black American culture dominates the nation, yet is rarely credited, or worse — is whitewashed and just called 'Gen Z culture'" . Acknowledging that white users on TikTok popularize and then profit off of the trends started by Black users is not a new conversation, but it is an important one. In an interview with In The Know, Greene said that TikTok makes cultural appropriation deceptively easy. "Sounds can be replicated easily ... and a lot of times you'll see Black culture that's popular outside of TikTok without any sort of credit to the original creators". "People work very hard to create these things, but they're super devalued when Black people do it," Greene said. He said that he didn't have all the answers, but asserted that identifying the problem is the first step toward cultural change