A TikTok star claims that she has been accused of cultural appropriation by trolls after sharing videos of herself performing Irish dance routines, which is something she has been doing for the past 10 years.
Morgan Bullock from Richmond, Virginia, has been performing Irish dance routines for the past 10 years and at the beginning of this year, decided to share with people on TikTok her talent.
In May, the 20-year-old posted a video onto TikTok in which she’s dancing to the hit song ‘Savage’ by Megan Thee Stallion featuring Beyoncé. It wasn’t long before the young woman had a mass of viewings and thousands of comments in which people said how talented she was.
That impressed by her dancing skills, the video captured the attention of world-famous Riverdance spectacle, Padriac Moyles. He even invited Morgan to perform alongside his dancers on their tour stop in Virginia next year.
As Morgan was gaining plenty of followers and fans, she decided to share more videos of herself performing dance routines. From Michael Jackson to Doja Cat, she received praise online for her talent at creating Irish dance routines to pop and hip hop beats.
However, alongside the thousands of positive comments on her videos, some hit out at Morgan accusing her of appropriating Irish culture.
In a first-person narrative in an article in The Guardian, she wrote: “I’m passionate about Irish dance, teaching and my identity as a young woman of colour, so the comments about ‘cultural appropriation’ were quite hurtful.
“I feel like they’ve come from people who don’t understand the term.”
She continued: “Irish dance is like any other cultural art form, it was created to be shared.
“It’s a dance that was born out of oppression; we can’t lose sight of that. For me, as a little black girl, it was a beautiful art I was desperate to be a part of.”
The TikTok star said she grew “mesmerised” by Irish dancing when she was 10-years-old. She said she was introduced to the dance form whilst at a recital in dance school; she was also learning ballet and tap dancing.
She said: “My mom was a bit incredulous at first, but she let me give it a shot. I fell in love after my first class.
“Now I’m 20, and Irish dancing is my life. Competitions aren’t that regular in Virginia, but until recently I was travelling every weekend to compete in major events elsewhere in the US, or international shows in Glasgow, Dublin and London.
“I came 43rd in the last world championships in 2019 – that might not sound huge, but getting into the top 50 is a big achievement.”
In March of this year, Morgan created an account on TikTok and saw that everyone was trying out choppy dance routines which were trending. Wanting to try it herself, she was frustrated when she couldn’t master the dances that were dominating the app.
She said: “I was terrible! I tried to learn the routine to ‘Savage’ but I couldn’t move fluidly.”
Determined to enjoy the app and have fun, Morgan realised that it would make sense to stand out from the crowd and to do this, she needed to go back to her roots. Therefore, she cleverly combined the beat with a tricky piece of Irish dancing footwork.
She added: “To my surprise, hip hop works well with Irish dance choreography – you can tap the beat with your shoes.”
As Morgan had such an unusual style on TikTok, it wasn’t long before she stood out from the crowd and many began to follow her.
Morgan said: “I started getting Facebook friend requests from older Irish people saying how much joy it gives them to see me dance and that my mom must be so proud – it’s very cute.”
The trending video even reached Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar who commented: “Some brilliant moves there, we’d love to have you over.”
He then said she was welcome to visit Ireland and perform on St Patrick’s Day.