Beyonce’s Choreographer JaQuel Knight Is Launching A Company To Copyright Dance Moves
When TikTok star Addison Rae received backlash after performing eight popular dances on “The Tonight Show” in March, Black creatives, who used the platform to illustrate dance moves, didn’t take kindly to not being properly credited.
In a spin move to save face, host Jimmy Fallon publicly addressed the issue and invited TikTok creatives to showcase their dances, adding;
“We recognize that the creators of those dances deserve to have their own spotlight.”
For the Black creators and dancers worldwide who have used TikTok and have successfully gone viral, where’s the protection for the creation of those moves? Perhaps Atlanta born- dancer JaQuel Knight is a start in that direction.
JaQuel Knight, who has choreographed dances for music heavyweights like Beyoncé, Pharrell, Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, has made a historical move for himself. He has become the first choreographer to copyright his dance moves, according to Variety. In addition to that feat, he created his own company, Knight Choreography and Music Publishing.
The accomplishments don’t stop there. JaQuel Knight founded the JaQuel Knight Foundation which is a non-profit geared to support other talented dancers worldwide. The foundation provides financial assistance to dancers that have been affected by COVID-19. The collected funds aid dancers who work as independent contractors relying on payment from music videos or live performances. Because of the pandemic, many were not able to receive adequate compensation once set production was down and live events were canceled.
One of Knight’s earlier gigs that catapulted his moves to fame was Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It)” video; Knight shares the credit with longtime Beyoncé choreographer, Frank Gaston, Jr. That success led to him choreographing tours including Beyoncé’s history-making Coachella, Cardi B and Meg the Stallion’s controversial “WAP” video and the 2020 Superbowl Halftime show that featured Shakira and Jennifer Lopez.
During an interview with Variety, Knight said,
“Copyrighting movement is about putting the power back in the artist’s hands. We set a historic precedent with our ‘Single Ladies’ copyright achievement, and we are thrilled to be launching Knight Choreography & Music Publishing, Inc. so that the next generation of artists are afforded the same platform, resources and tools to thrive, creatively and financially, in the commercial music industry.”
When Coachella was canceled last year, Knight found himself in the same boat as out-of-work dancers, temporarily. Fortunately, his network and financial investment became a profitable venture for others who found themselves out of work.
With his new company, the formula will continue in the way that music publishing works, but with a twist. Instead of just brokering licensing deals and protecting IP, Knight Choreography and Music Publishing, Inc will foresee the rights over Knight’s created dance moves.
The company will also serve as a home base, representing a diverse group of choreographers and creatives worldwide. This in turn will help protect the prospective clients from copyright infringement, gain proper licensing, and set the foundation for creatives in the music industry.
Founding and managing partner, David Hecht, helped secure the copyright for “Single Ladies.” Hecht will partner with Knight to create the change needed for the creatives who want better control over their ideas.
How do you feel about Knight wanting to copyright dance moves? Let us know what you think.