Black Lives Matter Takes on Mannequin Challenge With Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland Depictions
In perhaps the most poignant video to emerge from the viral Mannequin Challenge, Black Lives Matter activists came together to recreate shocking scenes that continue to leave the African-American community shaken.
The one-minute clip opens with an actor depicting Philando Castile in the passenger seat of his girlfriend's car, turned away from the gun a white police officer pointed at him. The audio from Castile's girlfriend's Facebook Live video recorded right after the fatal shooting plays in the background.
Then, as a Malcolm X speech plays, Black Lives Matter protesters — with their fists raised — become the subject of the video.
#mannequinchallenge for "Black in Blue" The Movie, produced by (@blackinbluefilm_) team and friends. We will continue to Stand for justice and create change through our Art. To be apart of our movement and help, you can contribute to the indiegogo campaign https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/black-in-blue-feature-film/x/15054300#/ #Blackinbluefilm #blacklivesmatter #artreflectsreality #contribute Concept by @sixeight215 @kevalenaeverett @_toddanthony Directed by @simoneshepherd Audio sequence by @kingkeraun Starring @torreihart @simoneshepherd @_toddanthony @kevalenaeverett @tonybakercomedy @rawswagger @jalexandercomey @antoniquesmith @kevinwelbeck @crystalleebrown @ritzjwill @charocantrell @scottstpatrick @sheelas
"As an African-American woman, it's a scary place to live," said viral sensation Simone Shepherd, who directed the video. "This could be my story. Trayvon could be my brother, or son, or nephew. I see that when I look at all of these boys, or even Sandra Bland, who could be me."
She told InsideEdition.com that following a popular Mannequin Challenge video she put together earlier this week, she was inspired to reach out to her friends, who are producing a film depicting the relationship between African Americans and police, and put together a similar video with a hard-hitting message.
"The African-American community has been depicted negatively," said Todd Anthony, a producer in upcoming film Black in Blue. "We're trying to take a stand, create understanding, and bridge the gap between African-American communities and police officers."
Amid rising tensions between what some call opposing forces, Anthony, who is black, said he was conflicted, saying: "I have police officers in my family, who are black. Do I have to choose a side?"
The uncertain answer to his question led him and other outspoken members of the African American community to conceptualize Black in Blue, the story of a black police officer attempting to mend relations between his two identities.
Although the Mannequin Challenge video they released as a teaser to the film depicted scenes of alleged police brutality against African Americans, "this is not a film that bashes officers. We're trying to take a stand, and create understanding," Anthony told InsisdeEdition.com.
While the one-minute clip was released immediately following Election Day, the creators insist the message has nothing to do with the results of the vote.
"No matter who was elected, this video was still going to be important," Shepherd said. "It's still an issue that needs to be addressed, no matter who's in office."
For producer Kevalena Everett, "There was a need for people to come together and the need to do something to get people to come together and support each other."