Viral #MannequinChallenge Gets Powerful Black Lives Matter Twist

Vine star Simone Shepherd took the #MannequinChallenge to a new level by using the viral movement to highlight police brutality and Black Lives Matter.

mannequin challenge

The #MannequinChallenge is still in full swing, with celebrities and civilians alike creating their own renditions of the viral movement started by a group of high-schoolers.

Most of the popular mannequin challenge videos have been humorous; however, a new video sends a poignant political message spotlighting Black Lives Matter.

The minute-long clip was directed by comedic Vine star Simone Shepherd in connection with the upcoming film “Black in Blue,” according to TIME.

Shepherd’s cast recreated the recent police killings of Philando Castile, Sandra Bland, and Alton Sterling. It also makes references to Trayvon Martin, Colin Kaepernick, and the peaceful Black Lives Matter demonstrators.

The audio is probably just as powerful as the imagery. The real 911 calls and voice recordings from each scene depicted in the clip are played as the camera pans from one tragic moment to the next and a heartbeat consistently pounds in the background.

Audio footage from Martin Luther King Jr. is also played, paralleling the current state of race relations to that of the Civil Rights era. At the end, the heartbeat changes to the beeping sound of a flat line, symbolizing death — which is the unfortunate fate one too many innocent African-Americans have faced.

“Black Lives Matter is an issue that’s important to me,” Shepherd told TIME. “I felt that it was important to make sure that people didn’t forget those moments using this very viral movement that’s happening with the mannequin challenge.”

Shepherd shared her clip on Twitter Wednesday night and it has since gained much traction, with some critics offering their negative reviews, but most praising how impactful the video is.

Although the video has been shared many times by other users, Shepherd’s original post has been retweeted more than 20,000 times and received nearly 30,000 likes. 

Banner Photo Credit: Screengrab, Twitter @simoneshepherd

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