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Black in Blue

Watch this unreal, political #MannequinChallenge video

Vine star Simone Shepherd and the cast of Black in Blue used tableau to recreate the unlawful deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Sandra Bland and Trayvon Martin

While the Mannequin Challenge is known for the funny tableaus set to Rae Sremmurd’s “Black Beatles”, one group has made use of the viral trend to highlight police brutality, and some of the most high-profile shootings of unarmed black men. 

Director Simone Shepherd uses the cast of Black in Blue, an upcoming film about America’s racial tensions, for the clip. Posted to Instagram and Facebook, cast members uses poses that recalled the police shootings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. Both murdered in July 2016. Sterling was killed by police in Louisiana, where he was selling CDs. Castile was shot by an officer in Minnesota when he was pulled over in a car with his girlfriend, who live streamed the incident on Facebook.

The tableau also dramatises the arrest of Sandra Bland, who died in police custody, and features a young man dressed like Trayvon Martin – a teenager shot by George Zimmerman in Florida in 2012. Others hold signs that say “hands up, don’t shoot” and group members stand with their fists in the air, soundtracked by a speech by Malcolm X from 1964.

Another man kneeling on the ground in a football shirt represents Colin Kaepernick, the NFL player for the San Francisco 49ers who refused to stand for the national anthem during games to protest racial injustice in the United States.

Shepherd told Newsbeat: “I thought it was important to remind people of an issue that has still not been fully addressed by our government… African Americans are being murdered by incompetent or racist police officers at alarming rates.”

Black in Blue is currently crowdfunding. It’s a project that hopes to create “a dramatic feature film that explores the current racial tensions between the police and those they have sworn to protect”. Filming is expected to begin in March 2017.