This TikToker's Fast Black History Videos Have Taught Us More Than Any High-School Course
Black History Month is here, and TikTok star Taylor Cassidy is rewriting the curriculum to bring you a weekly dose of Black history that'll teach you way more than you ever learned in a high-school class. After noticing a lack of diversity on TikTok, the 18-year-old created her Fast Black Facts series, highlighting Black figures and their impact on history in video clips that are quick-witted, funny, and informative. "When I first started TikTok, I saw that there weren't very many creators on the platform that were diverse," Taylor told POPSUGAR. "Black history has always meant so much to me from my childhood . . . So by the time Black History Month rolled around in 2020, I thought, 'I need to share this with people in a way where they can easily receive it.'"
"Black people didn't exist for 100 years and then come back in the '90s to go rap. We existed, and contributed, and developed so many things all throughout history."
Beyond her eye-catching cinematic filming style and clever use of jump cuts, Taylor's enthusiasm, acting skills, and sense of humor make it easy to get lost on her page and pick up more than a few interesting facts along the way. "Every time I go into the comments section of a Black history video, there's always somebody that says, 'I'm learning more from TikTok about Black history than I even do in school,'" she said, adding that her favorite video to date is the one she made on Mum Bett, aka Elizabeth Freeman, the first Black woman to win a freedom suit in Massachusetts in 1781.
"It blows my mind that it's created this community that comes to learn Black history and learn things that they were missing from school," Taylor said. "I believe that a lot of times schools really push all of the Black history and all of the contributions that Black people have made into one unit for one month . . . I think that it's really important to distribute that all throughout, every single facet of learning with history because Black people didn't exist for 100 years and then come back in the '90s to go rap. We existed, and contributed, and developed so many things all throughout history. I believe that it's important to learn in every single lesson."
Image Source: Taylor Cassidy
Taylor's Fast Black Facts videos involve weeks of research and cover a variety of celebrities, including Cicely Tyson, Malcolm X, Ella Fitzgerald, Beyoncé, Jesse Owens, and more. She's also known for her motivational videos that spread a little extra love to your FYP and for her Black Girl Magic series highlighting the excellence of Black influencers.
"It gives [followers] a chance to recommend more Black-owned businesses or shed light on more Black music artists just to give them credit and give them the props that are due for popular trends and songs that don't usually get recognized," Taylor said. "I believe that there should be more Black creators recognized not only on TikTok but on multiple apps. Because we contribute so much to pop culture. A lot of times, we aren't recognized for it, or the credit gets taken away, or it's just written off as pop culture as soon as it becomes popular. I think that there should be more recognition, not just as 'oh, this is a Black creator,' but 'this is the person that created this beautiful thing.'"
"If there is a spark in you, or there's something that you really care about, there's always a way for you to be vocal about it."
To give proper credit, Taylor said social media users should make a habit of tagging Black creators in the sounds, dances, and trends that they are responsible for creating. "Don't put out a post just to check off a box of diversity," she said. "Make sure to keep on uplifting, not only Black creators, but POC creators, and those who you think strive . . . those who you think have excellence; be consistent in that. Don't just do a little one and done . . . It makes sure the culture is recognized, and make sure people realize this isn't just pop culture; this is Black culture."
Black History Month may be the shortest month of the year, but Taylor hopes that by spreading her videos far and wide, she can inspire people to do their own research and educate themselves on the accomplishments of Black historical figures year-round. "If there is a spark in you, or there's something that you really care about, there's always a way for you to be vocal about it," she said. "You don't have to get all of this production, and all of these lights, and this, that, and the other to configure your message. All you have to do is bring yourself to the table, bring your creativity to the table, and most importantly bring your passion."
Outside of TikTok, Taylor finds joy in Maya Angelou's poems, wearing bright colors, and reading positive affirmations. "Whenever I see a good quote somewhere where it just hits my heart like a punch, I just hold on to that quote all day and it brings me so much happiness and fulfillment." Soon, she plans to start a podcast and continue working on her TikTok and YouTube content to uplift Black voices. Taylor also plans to continue sharing her own experiences as a young Black woman "so that more people out there can know that if they're struggling with being proud of who they are as a Black person, or trying to figure out more Black culture, they're not alone in that," she said. "They have somebody that they can come to." Check out some of Taylor's best videos here, and visit her TikTok page for a lesson in fast Black history.