The Mannequin Challenge is a viral Internet video trend where people remain frozen in action like mannequins while a video is recorded, usually with the song “Black Beatles” by Rae Sremmurd playing in the background. The hashtag #MannequinChallenge was used for popular social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. It is believed that the phenomenon was started by students in Jacksonville, Florida on October 12, 2016. The initial posting has inspired works by other groups, especially professional athletes and sports teams that have posted increasingly complex and elaborate videos.
News outlets have compared the videos to bullet time scenes from science fiction films, such as The Matrix, X-Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse, Lost in Space or Buffalo ’66. Meanwhile, the participatory nature of the challenge on social media makes it similar to memes such as Makankosappo or the Harlem Shake. Others have noted similarities with the HBO TV series Westworld which debuted around the same time, where robotic hosts can be stopped in their tracks.
In 2008, Improv Everywhere performed “Frozen Grand Central”, a precursor of the mannequin challenge involving hundreds of people in a flash mob style in New York City’s Grand Central Terminal. The 2015 video “Soke” by Burna Boy also has stylized frozen actors similar to the challenge.
- 1 Notable instances
- 1.1 Sports figures
- 1.2 Artists and celebrities
- 1.3 Politicians
- 1.4 Activism
- 1.5 Other examples
- 2 See also
- 3 References
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A number of notable sports teams, both collegiate and professional, and sports personalities have engaged in the challenge with elaborate versions with dozens of participants.
- Pittsburgh Steelers, in their locker room on November 4.
- Anaheim Ducks, at their 80s center ice party on November 13.
- Dallas Cowboys, on their team plane on November 6.
- Buffalo Bills, on their team plane on November 6.
- New York Giants, in their home locker room on November 6.
- Milwaukee Bucks, on their team plane on November 6.
- University of Kentucky Wildcats basketball team, in a home exhibition game against Asbury University. Thousands of attendees in the basketball arena participated.
- Brigham Young University women’s gymnastics team, in their gym.
- US Military Academy at Westpoint mens gymnastics team.
- Television broadcasters
- SEC Network sportscasters, crew and student crowd, on set November 5.
- ESPN College Gameday sportscasters and student crowd, November 5.
- FOX NFL Sunday sportscasters and crew, on set November 6.
- Borussia Dortmund, of the German Bundesliga, in a weight room.
- Portugal national football team with Cristiano Ronaldo in their locker room.
- Manchester United players Marcus Rashford and Jesse Lingard.
- England international footballers Jamie Vardy, Raheem Sterling and Theo Walcott froze in place after scoring a second goal vs Spain in a friendly match on November 15.
- Spain national football team inside the Wembley changing room after their friendly match against England.
- Belgium national football team.
- European Tour golfers at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai
- United States women’s national soccer team posted a video doing the challenge on November 13.
- United States gymnasts Simone Biles, Nastia Liukin and Danell Leyva took part in a video while practicing for the Kellogg’s Tour of Champions on November 13.
- World champion figure skaters joined the challenge on November 13 at the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Trophée de France 2016/2017.
- Indonesian footballer Lerby Eliandry and Thai footballer Teerasil Dangda with their respective teammates after scoring a goal in their Group Stage match of 2016 AFF Championship.
College football teams that posted videos include Texas Christian University Mizzou, Penn State University, US Naval Academy, University of Michigan, Old Dominion University, Temple University, Clemson University, University of Utah, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Kennesaw State University, Kent State University, Louisiana State University.
NBA basketball player Steph Curry and wife Ayesha Curry posted a version done at a restaurant full of patrons.
The crew of WWE NXT made a two minute video that was posted on November 8.
First Lady Michelle Obama posed for a video with the NBA champions Cleveland Cavaliers at the White House.
Artists and celebrities
Once many versions of the challenge began surfacing with Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles” as the background music, Rae Sremmurd paused a concert to do a Mannequin Challenge video live on stage.
Dancing With the Stars in the U.S. created a video with cast and crew on the dance floor that was posted to dancer Val Chmerkovskiy’s Instagram account.
Musical artists who participated included:
- The former members of Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé, Michelle Williams and Kelly Rowland, created a video on November 7.
- Singer Adele adopted a Western theme in a November 7 video.
- Country singer Garth Brooks created a video while live on stage in a concert on November 12.
- Singer Britney Spears celebrated winning, for the second year in a row, Best Resident Performer in the Best of Las Vegas Awards by posting a video on her Instagram page on November 13 of her and her dancers doing the challenge to the sound of her single “Slumber Party”, taken from her album Glory.
- Electronic dance music producer and DJ Marshmello recorded a video on stage in concert, with the crowd participating, at The Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.
- One of The Beatles, Paul McCartney did this challenge by standing by a piano frozen while the song is playing. He showed his support for the song and the artists in a Twitter message.
- Simon Cowell, Nicole Scherzinger, Louis Walsh and Sharon Osborne, along with the X Factor UK live audience and dancers participated live on 26 November 2016, during Honey G’s act.
Ellen DeGeneres and Warren Beatty created a video of a table tennis game and posted it to Instagram.
The The Late Late Show with James Corden created an elaborate video of more than 2 minutes and 30 seconds, that involved the entire crew, backstage area and studio audience.
Blac Chyna and Rob Kardashian created a video in the hospital delivery room.
The cast of Saturday Night Live created a video along with Kristen Wiig as a promotion for the season’s November 19, 2016 episode.
First Lady Michelle Obama froze for the Mannequin Challenge together with LeBron James and the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers during their visit to the White House to be honored for their NBA Championship victory.
On November 22, actress Tracee Ellis Ross coordinated a video before the awarding of the Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House, which included celebrities such as Ellen Degeneres, Robert DeNiro, Tom Hanks, Bill Gates, Diana Ross, Rita Wilson, Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Frank Gehry.
Taylor Swift participated in the mannequin challenge on Thanksgiving at a beach and also during a concert on November 25.
The night before election night, Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton participated in a video with Jon Bon Jovi, Bill Clinton, Huma Abedin and various staffers on her campaign plane.
On November 10, film makers Simone Shepherd, Kevalena Everett and Todd Anthony made a series of videos that re-created scenes related to the Black Lives Matter movement, as a promotional teaser for their feature film Black in Blue.