In 2016, Byte Dance, a Chinese company, created TikTok, but the app became popular in the United States in 2019. A short-form video-sharing app, TikTok allows users to create short music clips, lip-sync, dance, and comedy skits through videos with the use of music and audio clips created by users. The app’s popularity created controversy as it fails to comply with the privacy rules currently enacted and mines the personal data of its users. Arguing a possible national security threat, Trump signed an executive order to ban TikTok as long as Byte Dance owned 100% of the United States operations. At the end of a month-long argument, a United States trading firm bought 15% of TikTok from ByteDance ending the conflict.
Despite all these conflicts, TikTok provides a place for many alternative artists to be seen, as the most downloaded app of the year. Most notably, Lil Nas X received the beginning of fame with his song “Old Town Road” on Tik Tok which spent 17 weeks on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. Because of the app’s massive popularity with generation z and the unique personalized algorithm, tik tok provides a platform for the unknown to become known. LatinX tiktok-ers have used the platform to share information about their culture, heritage, and what it means to be LatinX. This is a list of 10 LatinX TikTokers using their new-found fame to celebrate and share latino culture through Tik Tok videos and sounds.
At 19-years-old, Azul from Colima, Mexico, boasts over 600,000 followers with over 4.5 million likes on a single video alone. Through her Tik Tok account, she showcases her folkloric dance skills, shares choreography for others to learn, and illustrates proper makeup for traditional folklorico dance. In one video, she dances in four different traditional outfits to show the diversity of traditional Mexican dance. She shares a part of Mexican culture many viewers have previously never seen.
As a visual artist from Bakersfield, California, Francisco Parraguirre believes La Calavera Catrina, a Mexican historical figure, represents one of the most inspiring characters in the world and his passion manifests in a deep love for Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). Because of this, Parraguirre created and plays the character Catrina Divina. While isolated from her country of origin and hometown, Catrina Divina provides those who cannot return to their country an opportunity to relive traditional moments. Creating all the pieces for his costumes by hand, Parraguirre shares his visual art through appearances and performances on Tik Tok for all to relive traditional moments.
With over 1.6 million followers, Jenny Martinez shares her mexican culinary skills through Tik Tok. Through short clips, Martinez offers step-by-step recipes of both traditional latino dishes like champurrado con “pan de muerto” and creative recipes like egg-chorizo croissant. Without a doubt, you can find your next recipe with a latino flavor from her Tik Tok account.
With over 190,000 followers, Fernanda Cortes uses her Tik Tok account to share the stories of lesser known latina women who impacted their communities in significant ways. For example, in part 41 of her series “Bad a** Latina Women,” she discusses Venezuelan Berta Cáceres, an indigenous activist who fought against the placement of a hydroelectric dam on indigienous lands. Each week, she features a new powerful latina woman from a different Latin American country.
Edison explores the difference between Latin American countries through his Tik Tok account. In some of his most popular videos, he illustrates the unique styles of salsa in different countries and the different pronunciations and meaning of words in different hispanic countries. For his video on salsa dancing, he and three friends dance to different songs to show Colombian , Puerto Rican, and Cuban salsa dancing. @senoredison makes learning differences in Latin American culture visually engaging through his short comedic videos.
Irisbeilin, a Panamanian makeup artist, shares her beauty tips and tricks with her 446,000 followers. In her Tik Tok, she shares her personal beauty routine and makeup tutorials while cracking jokes about being latina. In one of her most popular videos, she satirizes how the oven in hispanic households is used as storage for everything, except for food. If you want to know the difference between the flawless brush and the beautyblender, check out her page for all the latest makeup trends.
Moda 2000 is a quinceañera formal gown store in Anaheim, California, that has over 2.5 million followers on its TikTok. The account features three store workers that try on different dresses offered in the store daily and even shows the journey of girls picking their perfect quinceañera dresses for their special day. Through their short videos, the workers show the impact and importance a quinceañera has in the celebration of coming-of-age for young latinas.
Alaina Castillo, from Houston, Texas, shares her own art as a young musician on Tik Tok. She sings covers of other Latinx artists, creates comedic skits, and sings her own music as well. Her Tik Tok “Are You Latino Enough” encourages the Latinx community to embrace their heritage and to realize Latinx represents a broad category of people. This Tik Tok was featured on Mitú, a website dedicated to channeling Latino backgrounds, bringing her international publicity.
For his 82.2 thousand followers, Ecuadorian Joe Alarcon, creates videos sharing his love of hispanic music with others. His series on his Tik Tok account ranks Latino songs from different generations. One episode ranks hispanic songs from the 2000’s decade which includes artists like Christina Aguilera and Gilberto Santa Rosa.
Under the direction of Bernardo Méndez García, Juegos, Juguetes y Coleccionables is a TikTok account that is dedicated to latino toy collections. Toys propagate a sense of cultural identity and community through similar childhood experiences in the lives of hispanic adolescents. On the Tik Tok account, they share unique new latino toys like Rey del Ring or Palomitas Locas as well as traditional games like Lotería. They also feature unique collectables like the 2020 release of special Day of the Dead Barbie.
*Text and Selection by Audrey Morgan
*Edited by Madison Prien and Paul Alonso