By Nivriti Butalia
Recently, someone filmed a rhinoceros walking in a park, and set it to the beat of Canadian rapper Drake’s song, In My Feelings. There was also a zebra in the footage. Both rhino and zebra are filmed through a car door. Car doors have fast turned indispensible for anyone accepting the #InMyFeelingsChallenge.
In similar instances, and in near-identical frames, people have filmed their dogs on hind legs zipping past more car doors. Guess the number playing in the background.
In a third video, a cheerful granny figure in a magenta top and white shorts shakes her hips to the same Drake number. It goes like this: ‘Kiki, do you love me? Are you riding? Say you’ll never ever leave from beside me…’ Again, the car door.
You get the idea of the challenge, right? Get out of a car while the Drake song plays, dance a bit, get it on camera, get back in the car, upload on social media, and you too would have completed the #InMyFeelingsChallenge. It’s that simple.
Any amateur can… no wait, Will Smith’s take didn’t look that amateur. He too went down the Kiki road. Except, no car door for him.
So, Will Smith was at the Chain Bridge in Budapest. The production quality of his clip is more Hollywood-esque — rough panning mixed with top shots possibly filmed from a drone. He uploaded it on July 12 and many people followed. The hashtag #InMyFeelingsChallenge, last I checked, had 413,065 posts. But it wasn’t Will Smith who started this challenge.
In June, American comedian Shiggy apparently got inspired by Drake’s song, and posted a video of him dancing to it (at night, in a peach tracksuit). The moves caught on. #ShiggyChallenge trended. Shiggy’s original moves were not smart to begin with — middle of traffic, dude! The challenge became to dance like Shiggy to the Drake song and film it (haven’t yet found where it says you must jump out of a moving car).
Some sensible types pulled over and executed their moves away from roads and traffic, which is perfect. Sass plus common sense is a win-win. No lives endangered. However, some, shall we say, ‘innovative’ people on social media decided to better the Shiggy example, and flew too close to the sun. And it’s because of them that people have called this challenge business dangerous.
I saw a video of the father of Iowa-resident, Anna Worden, 18, in hospital, by his daughter’s side, worried sick. Anna suffered a skull fracture and bleeding in her brain while attempting the #KikiChallenge (another name for it). Reports quoted Anna saying, “the last thing I remember was opening the (car) door. So apparently I got out and tripped and fell and hit my head”. She’s now having to re-learn how to walk.
There is a reason cops are losing their minds. The three ‘influencers’ closer home, risking arrest in Abu Dhabi, ought to have known better.
Remember that ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that went viral in 2014? That was safer, even backed up by a cause, unlike in the Era of Dunce we’re living in, where people are bent on hurting themselves and others, for kicks and likes.
If you look for the most ridiculous videos of the #InMyFeelingsChallenges on Instagram, you’ll find it gets repetitive. Unless you enjoy watching women in cropped tops (all apparently fans of the ripped-denim-that-encapsulates-the-posterior look) gyrating and framed in car doors, all making the heart symbol, all pouting, smiling, tossing hair, deploying two hands. But all that is okay. It’s the jumping out of moving cars that’s the problem. Opinion pieces have been written urging people to let go of the Kiki love and return to their seats, strap on the common sense, but who reads opinion pieces, right?
In my quest for finding videos with a difference (rhino rocked!), I must have heard some 40 times: Kiki, do you love me? The song goes like this: ‘Trap, TrapMoneyBenny/ This shit got me in my feelings/ Gotta be real with it, yup/ Kiki, do you love me/ Are you riding, say you’ll never ever leave/ From beside me, ‘cause I want ya, and I need ya/ And I’m down for you always/ KB, do you love me/ Are you riding say you’ll never ever leave/ From beside me, ‘cause I want ya, and I need ya/ And I’m down for you always’.
Ladies known to Drake (Kiki, KB, Resha, JLo…) must be pleased about being referenced in what’s now an anthem. It’s dope, it’s lit, it’s got vibe and sass, and basically, any number of short, millennial-speak words that mean ‘cool’.
Sameness of challenge videos apart, there are laughs to be had from the moronic element of it. Laughter ceases though when you realise you’re going to hear this song till the ungulates come home: Kiki, do you love me? Oh, there’s also a video of cattle ambling along to . Cattle is one thing but people are paying a price.
Khaleej Times, ever on the ball, reported last week that a fine of Dh2,000 and 23 black traffic points was to be slapped on any motorist caught performing Kiki dance moves. Elsewhere in the region, some jest. According to Arab News: “The dance is so popular in Egypt that even President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi joked about it this week when he addressed the sixth National Youth Conference, laughing as he told youngsters in the audience: “You are riding in cars and playing Kiki.” He then turned to his minister of petroleum and added: “Increase the price of fuel and don’t worry.” (Gas prices in Egypt have soared in the past two years).
Naturally, I had to check what was happening in the homeland. India is where the action is. Dear old UP Police didn’t disappoint. They thus preached: “not all challenges are worth taking.” They tweeted, “Dear Parents, whether Kiki loves your child or not, we are sure you do! So please stand by your kids in all the challenges in life except #kikichallenge.” Cops in Mumbai chimed in: “Desist from public nuisance or face the music.”
You’ve got to hand it to the Jaipur police, though. Not only did they come up with #KikiKills (lit, sass, dope, cool), but they tweeted a black and white photograph of an unknown man (who turned out to be one Jawahar Subhash Chandra, 30, from Kochi, a model apparently). The photo-tweet shows a garlanded Chandra and this caption: ‘In loving memory of KK — Loving boyfriend of Kiki, died while doing the shiggy’. Hilarious! People started ringing Chandra to check if he had a pulse. Meanwhile, Chandra, good sport, didn’t complain about the misuse of his mug shot — good cause and all. He did, though, clarify to The Times of India, “I am alive and I have never done the Kiki challenge in my life”.
May his tribe prosper.
Nivriti prefers Shailendra over Drake. ‘Ajeeb dastan Hai Ye’ over ‘Kiki, do you love me?’