This mannequin challenge about police brutality just shut down all other videos

The mannequin challenge has taken over social media. Everyone from Destiny’s Child to high school students have been getting in on creating freeze frames to Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles.” While there have been plenty of ambitious videos, this mannequin challenge about police brutality and the Black Lives Matter protests in response has taken it to another level. The one-minute clip starts off with a disturbingly familiar sight – a cop’s gun pointing inside of a car at a black man. A heartbeat pulses in the background while a woman’s voice argues with the cop about how her passenger was just reaching for his driver’s license. Her voice quivers as she says, “Oh my God… please don’t tell me he is dead.” The scene is a reenactment of the killing of Philando Castile, a black man killed by a cop in front of his girlfriend.

The camera then pans to a cop dragging a black woman out of a car — Sandra Bland — and arresting her for no real reason. A black man is shown lying on the ground with an officer holding a gun pointed at his head. Then, the shot pans to a young man holding a sweet tea and Skittles and wearing a hoodie – just like Trayvon Martin when he was killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer. Each scenario was accompanied by audio depicting what happened to the real-life victims.

The video then shifts to the aftermath of these murders, showing black men and women united in solidarity with their fists raised as Malcolm X’s voice reverberates in the background with one of his most powerful messages:

“We want justice by any means necessary. We want equality by any means necessary.”

One woman in the clip wears a shirt featuring President Obama, while a man is depicted as a kneeling Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who stirred up controversy by taking a knee during the national anthem as a silent protest toward racial injustice. More powerful imagery floods in as a woman holds her dead son in her arms. At the end, a group stands together with their hands up (a “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot” reference), while another woman wears the now infamous Black Lives Matter T-shirt.

This video shook me to my core and was a sobering summary of what it means to be black in America. It encompassed the heartbreak, pain, injustice, righteous anger, and solidarity among black people as we have tried to continually process the constant cycle of systemic racism and violence happening almost daily. We are often treated like inanimate objects and expected to endure everything with a plastic smile on our faces. This group took a popular challenge and used it to continue to push these issues to the forefront.

Of course, the keyboard thugs couldn’t wait to come out and comment about black-on-black crime, but everyone else with two working brain cells can see how well coordinated and powerful this video is, especially considering the world we’re now living in. It’s hard to beat a challenge when art is imitating real life.