Helen of Troy’s face launched a thousand ships, and Kiki’s love inspired a song that launched an internet dance challenge craze started by @theshiggyshow. Long before I finally heard the full length of Drake’s In My Feelings, the same seconds-long clip played as people jumped out of cars making hearts with their hands and criss-crossing their legs in the same choreography
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
One of the first videos I saw was of Ciara and her husband Russell Wilson. I thought it was cute, but it’s not the first dance clip she’s posted, so I paid it no nevermind. Then I kept seeing it again and again, celebrities and non-celebrities, gossip posts, news stories on Access Hollywood. I started paying attention to the hashtag. #InMyFeelingsChallenge. Huh? I had no idea why it was called that because I never heard the lyrics “in my feelings” from the dozens of clips I kept seeing and hearing online, nor had I ever heard the full song.
Like most of the challenges that have come and gone (ice bucket, planking, running man, Harlem Shake, mannequin, and even dangerous ones like the Tide Pod and the one where people set themselves on fire), I watch in amusement or bewilderment, knowing damn well I will not partake. I don’t even like recording myself, not to mention I hardly fill out (and post) those internet questionnaires.
I’ve participated in two challenges. The first, an epic fail, was the blogging challenge, The A-Z challenge. Writers had to choose a theme and write about it with the corresponding alphabet letter every weekday in April. I chose food. My first essay, Avocado: A Peer Pressure Story was about my evolution of accepting avocado into my diet. I made it all the way to O for oatmeal. Plain Oatmeal is Gross is another food acceptance story. Don’t be alarmed. I actually love food, as I wrote about in Food is My Friend. Life got in the way (especially because April is my birthday month and I’m one of those people who celebrates all month) and I never finished the challenge. Too bad. I was looking forward to writing about quiche.
A couple of years after the A to Z Challenge, I participated in an Instagram book challenge by Book Riot. Participants had to follow daily prompts like current read, spine poetry, and oversized book. There were some days I had to double up on posts, but I completed the challenge! I gained a few new Instagram followers—a pleasant surprise, and I learned that I definitely love to read more than I love to write as I posted on the final day of the challenge. It’s cathartic, but it’s work.
So, I’m back at it again. This time will be a two-fer. I’m going to do a book challenge in tandem with a writing challenge. I follow @booksandbrunchbookclub on Instagram. Inspired by her upcoming nuptials, she launched the #BlackLoveBooks challenge. The goal is “celebrating and reinforcing images of black love.” Considering the tense(r) social climate these days, I’m more than happy to help promote love, the love of reading, and positive images of black people. It’ll be nice to chip away at whatever allows people to think black people deserve all the vitriol and violence levelled at us, sometimes even by the ones that are supposed to protect us. #BlackLivesMatter Let’s spread love. Bonus: I get to peep books to add to my already TBR (to be read list).
The challenge begins August 1. After scanning the 31 prompts for the days of August, I can see this challenge is indeed going to be challenging (pun intended). I realized that I’ve been reading too many celebrity memoirs and not enough contemporary fiction, never mind fiction by black writers. I’m gonna have to dig deep into the mental crate for some oldies but goodies, much like I did for the Book Riot challenge. That’s ok. I’m up for it.