No boring times: Now that the party is on hold (because the party don’t stop), all that angst is going towards pulling off social media challenges. Grace Kenganzi rounds up a few of the ones that have kept people busy during the Covid-19 lockdown.
This is the challenge that keeps giving. But where did it start? On March 22, Toluwalase Asolo tweeted a short video featuring seven other girls. The video starts with a makeup-free girl who covers the camera with a makeup brush. When she removes the makeup brush from the camera, we see her all glammed up. She throws the brush to someone and the next scene opens with another girl receiving it and doing the same thing. The cycle continues until the last girl. The video plays to Young T and Bugsey’s Don’t Rush. This sequence is now familiar to anyone with access to social media, so much that some people cannot stand to hear the song anymore.
More than a month later, the tweet has more than one million views. That is not all. Several people around the world have recreated their own videos, using the hashtag Asolo used in her tweet, #DontRushChallenge.
First, it was the ladies pulling off the challenge. Most of the first videos featured some of our most popular social media influencers with flawless face beats, hair and wardrobe. There was a UG version, KY version, NIG version… the list goes on. These girls looked so good that some wondered whether they were undergoing the same version of social distancing that the rest of us were. Then the men got onto the challenge and had some of us praising God for his wonderful creation.
The challenge has since evolved into different versions, complete with a change in the song. People have incorporated their interests, hobbies, positive messages, favourite pastimes and even ads for some brands. From book lovers passing on their favourite books to people who love cooking, showing a before and after of their favourite dishes, to people passing on the bible with each person reading an encouraging portion of scripture, and much more.
Then the others who have parodied the challenge. The ones who have placed the makeup brush on the camera only to reveal that nothing happens when they take it away, as if to say that the transformation does not happen that seamlessly. Others have transformations that do not turn out as pretty as most have. For instance, the ladies who start out all glammed up, favourite drink in hand only to transform into a state that tells of the effects of imbibing several glasses of said drink. We are talking makeup running, hair in every direction, drinking straight from the bottle, the glass forgotten. People have really had fun with this trend and they do not seem to be done yet.
Did Asolo imagine that what started in a dorm room in the UK would go this far?
“We understand that in a period like this with nothing to do, a lot of people may slip into depression due to high levels of inactivity and idleness,” she told Teen Vogue last month, “So we decided to highlight the togetherness in isolation.” Indeed that is what the hashtag has done – brought people from all over the world together.
This one started when Kenyan vlogger, Azziad Nasenya posted a video of herself dancing and lip-syncing Femi One and Mejja’s Utawezana on TikTok. Her smile and smooth waist moves tantalised people almost as much as they irritated some haters. So the challenge had both the people who were mimicking her good vibe, and others who were mocking her. This is one of the challenges that reminds us that social media has given some people such false bravado that they think it is cool to troll people. We are glad Nasenya put a smile on our faces, and that we can attempt to move some of our non-existent waistlines like her, even when our poor Ugandan Kiswahili has made us edit the hashtag to #Tawezana instead of #Utawezana.
This one takes some getting used to. As the name suggests, it involves pillows. It seems to have started with two fashion influencers on Instagram. @myforteisfashion and @stylebynelli both posted a photo of themselves wearing nothing but a pillow with a belt holding it in place. They struck the same pose in the mirror and used the hashtag #QuarantinePillowChallenge tagging each other in the post. That was on April 7.
The trend soon evolved with some people shortening it to #PillowChallenge. In Uganda, the trend is better known by this hashtag. It has evolved to people using the most fashionable pillows they have on hand. Others have used more than one pillow – because some of us have surface areas larger than the average pillow yet we do not want to be left out. Whatever variation people have opted for screams a nod to fashion. Some look like something you would see on a high fashion runway.
The challenge took a cute twist when people dressed their babies and pets. The babies definitely win this round because they are just too awww-worthy. Also, baby pillows come in such cute hues and designs that some of us have wished they were outfits. Our wish was granted with this challenge and indeed the babies look like they are wearing costumes for a photoshoot.
Of course there have been some strange ones such as the person who used a travel pillow and placed it in an unfortunate way. This resulted in an almost pornographic pose that he later had to take down because of notice from IG.
If you are looking for an elaborate explanation for this trend becoming viral, we cannot help you. We shall file it under boredom and trying not to go stir crazy during self-isolation.
This one has not caught on in Uganda just yet. But it is too heartwarming to leave out. The challenge involves recreating a photo from your childhood with Simple Plan’s I’m Just A Kid playing in the background. What is heartwarming about it is that families of varying ages are taking part. From grandparents recreating washing their grandchildren’s hair to a father trying to carry the son who is now way taller than him on his shoulders, just like he did in an old photo. This challenge screams both nostalgia and spending family time together.
Although it is more common on TikTok right now, some people are using other apps to create it. Now this is one challenge we hope to see on Ugandan accounts soon. Those gyenvudde photos are always a hit with followers – take note influencers.
This one is just an excuse for people to show off how many clothes and shoes they have in their wardrobe. Let us call it what it is. It started with a celebrity laying out his designer jeans, shoes and a few shirts in the shape of the coronavirus. Soon, our celebrities were posting photos of their wardrobe, mainly shoes in a circle (the coronavirus shape got lost along the way). At first people were happy because some people’s shoe game was just that strong.
However, some fans took to insulting their celebrities, claiming that the shoes they were displaying were borrowed. Influencers who are known to own boutiques were accused of displaying their merchandise and not what they owned in their own wardrobes. This was not been an easy challenge to pull off because it seemed to bring out negative reactions from people. Some comments are of pure disbelief that someone could own all those cool shoes. Others are tainted with a hint of jealousy.
On our end, we see no issue with people displaying their wardrobe game. #DoYou, guys! These times are negative enough without people raining on your parade. We hope you will be able to take out all those babies walking again.
Shout out to the people who have turned this challenge around to display the items they own in plenty. From books and make-up kits to gardening tools and kitchenware and appliances, we have allowed that people go big when they love something. Some of us will stick to that saucepan that cooks everything.
Thank God this fizzled out with almost the same steam it came with. This is the one where women posted a collage of three photos of themselves in different outfits. The more demure one was labelled wifey, the risque one was labelled side chick, and the in-between was labelled wifey.
Why didn’t we like this one as much as the others? It made guys who have each of these at one time too giddy. The guys were happy to see that women were ‘accepting’ their ‘positions’ in a man’s life. Some told us to loosen up and have fun with it. But it is hard to have fun when something that causes strife is involved.
Thankfully, people soon started changing it around. Some showed the transitions they make in their wardrobe, depending on where they are going – to work, a night out or to visit family. Others showed how their wardrobe has evolved with their career growth.
The challenge must have met its death when some wives posted a collage of three photos with the first one being of themselves, labelled wifey. The other two were either ashes or memoriam candles whose message surely needs no explanation.
This one started way before social distancing but it has gained momentum in Uganda during the lockdown. In the challenge, two people are standing next to each other with Drake’s Nonstop playing in the background. The line, “I just flipped the switch” plays, the video goes dark for a short while and when the light comes back, the people in the video have exchanged clothes or looked.
Since we are in social distancing times, the challenge has evolved into people doing it by themselves. What happens now is that when the switch is flipped, the person is in a different outfit or room or doing something different from what they were doing at the start of the video.
From book lovers to art enthusiasts, this challenge also known as the ‘Dress Like Your Art’ has a niche. It is not for everyone. The book lovers got some of their favourite books, and dressed up in a way similar to the books’ covers. Whether it was just the colour theme or picking a feature on the cover and incorporating it into the outfit, people have allowed their creativity to flow. Art lovers have done the same thing with art pieces.
The best thing about this one is seeing how people interpret this so accurately. When the outfit is placed side by side with what is imitating, you can see the similarities. We are yet to see a fail for this one.
We are sure there will be more challenges to come, especially since this time has made more people discover TikTok and all its features. While we may frown at some people who just waste our data, we are glad that people are keeping busy and finding ways to keep themselves entertained. Some of you have good video editing skills that you are sitting on. Hope you will be able to do more with them post-COVID-19. While we wait to have party after party once again, we will keep our eyes on the challenge after challenge scene.