Internet superstar and comedian, Simone Shepherd created awareness about police brutality in her latest video.
By now you should have heard about the latest trend sweeping the internet: the mannequin challenge, The Root stated. This is when a group of people get together to pose in various ways without moving as someone makes their way through the room, videotaping the entire mannequin group. Everybody and their mommas are taking part: Kevin Hart, Beyoncé (well, Destiny’s Child), even Hillary Clinton!
When certain trends go viral, it’s mostly for comedic purposes—giving us all a laugh as we scroll through our feeds. Many of us are inspired to join in and make the next-best this or that challenge video. Well, internet superstar and comedian Simone Shepherd and her internet comedy counterparts have done just that with the mannequin challenge.
— Rickey Smiley (@RickeySmiley) November 10, 2016
Shepherd; her equally internet-famous partner, King Keraun; and fellow comedian Donnivin Jordan recently won the internet with their “Trapped in the Closet” mannequin challenge, but Shepherd’s latest video takes the cake. Shepherd used the mannequin challenge to bring awareness to a film she’s working on called Black in Blue, and she and her team delivered a police brutality version of the mannequin challenge with tragic familiar scenes from cases that became headlines and hashtags. It’s disturbing, spot-on and amazing.
The explosively popular #MannequinChallenge has gotten a powerful new entry spotlighting police brutality and the lives lost because of it, such as Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, and Alton Sterling, Complex reported.
Earning over one million views on Facebook, the video, titled #BlackandBlue, was directed by actor, writer, and director Simone Shepherd. The video panned through different scenes depicting notable incidents of mostly police brutality against African-Americans, as well as scene of historical significance and a demonstration.
— Complex (@ComplexMag) November 10, 2016
The video depicts a hooded teen dressed as Trayvon Martin, complete with a packet of Skittles and an Arizona. It also shows someone dressed as a kneeling Colin Kaepernick, as well as people re-enacting the scenarios around Bland, Castile, and Sterling, before ending on a Black Lives Matter demonstration. Unlike a typical mannequin challenge, #BlackandBlue wasn’t scored to “Black Beatles,” but instead featured audio related to issues of police violence and racial justice. There was a clip of George Zimmerman talking to police before he shot and killed Martin, audio from Sandra Bland’s roadside arrest, and even an excerpt from a Malcolm X speech.
The video serves to promote an upcoming feature film titled Black in Blue. According to a fundraising campaign for the film: “The creators of “Black in Blue,” will take you inside the perspective of lives, both in front and behind the trigger.”
— simone shepherd (@simoneshepherd) November 10, 2016
It starts with intensity reported by The Wrap. We hear a police officer say, “I told him to get his hands up!” We see a white police officer pointing his gun into a car where a black man is sitting next to his girlfriend — with all of the actors frozen in place. It is a recreation of the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, whose death in July brought nationwide outrage.
The video ends to the sound of a heart monitor going dead.
Instead of the usual Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” ft. Gucci Mane song playing in the background, the video uses audio specific to each story.
Black in Blue Film, a start-up production company, says it seeks to provide the “perspective of lives, both in front and behind the trigger.” Torrei Hart is also credited with a role in the challenge.
Simone Shepherd’s effort is to use the popular mannequin challenge craze to create awareness of police brutality is a commendable act. Police brutality is obliterating our community and ripping us off our joy, peace, and justice. Hence, there is the need for all to join hands and stand against it. We won’t stop fighting for justice and equality we deserve, until we achieve it.