A very popular TikTokker named Melanie Wilking is alleging that her sister and former collaborator Miranda Wilking Derrick has been held hostage by a cult/entertainment management firm since January 2021.
The Michigan-born Wilking sisters started their careers on a shared Youtube account but really blew up on their TikTok in 2020, amassing over 3 million followers together with their sister-centric dances and giggly, bubbly demeanors (they open their vlog-style content with “Hey Wilkings and queens!”)
But now, it seems that a cult has possibly come between them. As Melanie and her parents alleged in a tearful Instagram Live on Friday, an organization called 7M Films, an offshoot of a Penetecostal sect that believes in something called the Seven Mountain Mandate, is holding Miranda hostage.
According to a March 2020 Outline story, the Seven Mountain Mandate is based in a selective reading of Bible verse Isaiah 2:2, from which “a group of self-proclaimed ‘apostles’ have a plan rooted in biblical prophecy to ‘invade’ every sphere of life as we know it.” According to followers of 7M, the key facets of life are education, religion, family, business, government, entertainment, and media; it is their job to rid those institutions of demons and witchcraft.
The Apostles already made it to the White House — Trump’s “spiritual advisor” Paula White was a 7M devotee — and now, apparently, they’ve set their sights on TikTok.
A day later on TikTok, Melanie shared a video of her estranged sister Miranda dancing in a field to Billy Joel’s “My Life,” annotated with a dire plea that her sister is in this shadowy and secluded LA-based cult with no control over her social media.
Miranda responded to her family’s allegations on her Instagram stories on Sunday, reporting that her sister Melanie “kicked [her] out of the 3.1 million follower TikTok account that [she] originally started and had Melanie join.” She stopped speaking with her family because they called the cops on her Black then-boyfriend (now-husband) and dance partner James Derrick when she moved in with him, not because she was forbidden from contacting them by 7M Films.
She also wrote, “I can speak for James and our friends who are in 7M that they DO speak to their families (so what you guys have heard about 7M dancers not speaking to their families is a complete lie). It’s just a unique situation with my family…”
Derrick also posted a response on his Instagram stories, saying this all started with “a white beautiful woman moving in with a poor Black man from Compton that the parents did not approve of. I get it!” he continued. “I was renting a room and had no car. I was a divorced man with a son.”
He also said they got married “and joined a management company that helped me to become successful in a matter of months,” referring to 7M Films. He clarified to his followers that 7M “is not a religious non profit organization but a secular for-profit company run by people who have faith in god” and that the organization “manages [his] books and helps with taxes and finances.. It is their job to manage/control our books and schedules.”
“That is not a cult activity. It’s called doing business,” Derrick said.
All said, it’s unclear if the Wilking family is being held hostage by hateful ideology, or if the prodigal daughter Miranda has been recruited into a Biblical death cult. The only thing that’s certain: This girl can really dance.