6 horrifying "Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult" discoveries in the Netflix series

The docuseries gives audiences a peek into an alleged cult's exploitation, sexual and financial abuse of dancers

By Nardos Haile

Staff Writer

Published June 8, 2024 10:00AM (EDT)

Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult (Netflix)
Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult (Netflix)

There is a corner of the internet for every person and every interest, with dance videos taking up a huge chunk of online real estate. With millions of viewers on TikTok and YouTube tuning in to watch and attempt the next viral dance sensation, it's easy to get sucked into the rabbit hole of dance content online.

However, the dancers making the addictive dance content, according to "Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult," are just as susceptible as their audience to fall under a spell. The new Netflix docuseries gives a disturbing peek behind the yearning for fame and success in the entertainment industry, and how a person can led astray by an allegedly abusive entity that wields controls through wealth and religion.

In "Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult," promising, young dancers share their stories of how a talent management company called 7M Films run by a pastor of the Shekinah Church in Los Angeles was able to allegedly assert control over their lives.

Here are some of the most damaging discoveries in the docuseries:


The Wilking sisters: dancing duo Melanie and Miranda

Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok CultDancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult (Netflix)
The docuseries kicks off with the introduction of the close-knit sisters, Melanie and Miranda Wilking. The pair started their influencer journey as the dancing duo The Wilking Sisters, sharing their dancing videos on TikTok and YouTube. With three million followers on TikTok, the pair made a name for themselves on the platform and in the dance world.
Soon after, Miranda met another well-known dancer named James "BDash" Derrick, who would eventually become her husband. Derrick would also introduce Miranda to the crucial players in the 7M management company, which managed and represented dancers like Derrick and his dance friends. Melanie said that Miranda only joined 7M and the church so that she could be closer to her boyfriend, Derrick. This would be the beginning of the end of the sisters' relationship as they knew it.



7M, led by Robert Shinn, becomes a refuge for dancers

Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok CultDancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult (Netflix)
At the center of the talent company 7M is Robert Shinn, the Los Angeles pastor of the nondenominational church named Shekinah, which he founded in 1994. The docuseries reported that Shinn started 7M Films in 2021 when his son, videographer Isaiah Shinn, began working with dancers like Derrick and Miranda to create content for TikTok and YouTube.
Former 7M dancers said in the docuseries that Shinn used his talent company to help lure vulnerable dancers who wanted to make it in the entertainment industry to Shinn's advantage.



Shinn uses religion as a way to cut off dancers from their family

Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok CultDancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult (Netflix)
One of the troubling revelations in the docuseries was the deterioration in what was portrayed as a close sibling bond between dancers Melanie and Miranda because of alleged religious and controlling influences on Miranda. 
As Miranda grew closer to Shekinah church, her sister Melanie experienced some of the alleged indoctrination that members of 7M and the church said Shinn had used on people. Melanie recounted an experience in the series where she was at a weekly dinner with the 7M dancers, her sister Miranda and Shinn. She said Shinn had asked her if she was a sinner. She said he said, "What if I told you you have [sinned] 1,000 times today?" She recalled that they all sat in a circle and held hands. Melanie said that Shinn supposedly began speaking in tongues, and the rest of the dancers followed. Moreover, after that experience, Melanie said she had to draw a line in the sand because Shinn had personally invited her over to spend one-on-one time with her and she refused.
Not long after the experience, Melanie noticed a shift in Miranda's behavior. She noted that she would be gone all day from their apartment without a word. The Wilking sisters' parents also stated that they knew that Miranda was "running dry on money."
In 2021, when one of their family members passed away, Miranda refused to come home and lied about having COVID-19 so she would not have to see her family and go to her grandfather's funeral. Her family called the police to perform a wellness check and found she was with Shinn's daughter, Khloe Shinn. 


It is later revealed in the docuseries that according to former 7M dancers, Shinn told people in the church that to get right with themselves, atone for their sins and grow as a person they needed to "die to [themselves]." They would  “die to your family in order to save them,” and get an entrance into heaven, essentially cutting themselves off from their support system to work on themselves. Miranda's family said they knew "she's gone" in that moment. She even got engaged and married to Derrick without telling her family. The family's concerns grew, which led to a bombshell Instagram Live in which the family accused Shinn for allegedly running a cult masquerading as a business and church.


Dancers say that Shinn exploited them

Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok CultDancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult (Netflix)
7M dancers recounted in the series that the management company took advantage of their finances. They explained the breakdown of the fees deducted from their paychecks: 20% went to management at 7M, 10% would go to tithe for church, 10% to the man of God (which was Shinn) and 10% to an offering.

Melanie said she believed that the dancers in 7M are "not in control of their lives." In the docuseries, which highlights a later lawsuit filed by former 

Shekinah and 7M members, found that the environment was rife with "brainwashing" to a state of “economic and physical submission” and “abuse.” 



Sisters Priscylla and Melanie reveal dark experiences with Shinn
IDancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok CultDancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult (Netflix)
Before Shinn's 7M company, his life work started as a pastor at his church Shekinah. Explained in the series as a religious community for Korean Americans, Shekinah was home to two Korean immigrant sisters Melanie and Priscylla Lee, who joined in 1999.
The sisters lived in a joint house with Shekinah members until Melanie left the community and lost contact with Priscylla for a decade. Before Melanie left, what was a community for the sisters turned out to be a nightmare when Melanie recalled that young women at the church interrupted a sermon once to share they had been sexually assaulted, coerced and manipulated by Shinn through their faith. But Shinn reworked the narrative to the congregation that he had been seduced by the women instead. Melanie shared that Shinn made advances at her even though he was married. He even suggested she should be his mistress. He told her she "may pay her price" like other members of the church have. Melanie said he had propositioned her to have sex with another member of the church but before it happened, Melanie was able to flee the church, urging Priscylla to come with her but she refused.
Following Melanie's escape, Priscylla shared that she was then sexually abused for 10 years. She said that she would vomit because of their interactions, but Shinn would say she was vomiting because he was purifying her. After 23 years, Priscylla would finally decide to leave the church in 2021. Robert claimed that leaving would condemn her to hell, however, Priscylla said she would rather be damned to hell than stay at the church.
Shinn sues former 7M dancers, but are counter-sued
Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok CultDancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult (Netflix)
In 2022, Shinn filed a lawsuit that alleged defamation and libel against several former church members/dancers and the Lee sisters. He claimed that the defendants asserted “false statements” when they referred to 7M and Shekinah as a cult. The complaint stated that their clams started a campaign to "cancel Shinn through defamatory attacks on social and other media,” CNN reported.
However, a year later in 2023, the defendants all counter-sued Shinn, his wife and their organizations for allegations of fraud, forced labor and human trafficking. The lawsuit also includes accusing Shinn of sexual battery. Moreover, former Shekinah and 7M Films members described in the suit that Shinn was in full control of their lives and finances, explaining that people “worked on a small allowance,” were “only allowed to eat food provided by Shekinah,” and “were only allowed to make purchases approved by Shekinah."
The case is scheduled to go to trial in July 2025. No criminal charges have been brought against Shinn.

"Dancing for the Devil: The 7M TikTok Cult" is streaming on Netflix.


By Nardos Haile

Nardos Haile is a staff writer at Salon covering culture. She’s previously covered all things entertainment, music, fashion and celebrity culture at The Associated Press. She resides in Brooklyn, NY.

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