The denizens of the internet have taken up the latest viral phenomenon to keep themselves feeling positive as Donald Trump takes office: the Optimistic Challenge. It appears to be the first major internet craze of 2017, and it might just be enough to distract people from the impending doom of a Trump administration. Even the likes of Chance the Rapper has taken notice and joined in on the fun.
Essentially, the videos are squads of friends dancing around to the 1991 gospel track “Optimistic” by Sounds of Blackness. Internet entertainers Jay Versace and Caleon Fox look to have started the viral craze after posting a video on January 12. In the short clip, the two of them and their friends are dancing in the streets, pulling off some pretty fly moves. Just check out that fancy footwork — everyone looks like they’re having a damn good time. It doesn’t appear that Jay and Caleon dubbed it the Optimistic Challenge, but the name obviously comes from the song title.
On Thursday night, Chance the Rapper also posted a video using the #optimisticchallenge. The artist’s participation will undoubtedly catapult this dance sensation to the next level, much like how the Mannequin Challenge gained major steam after “Black Beatles” rapper duo Rae Sremmurd froze an entire concert crowd to do it with them.
Black Twitter has taken notice of the internet trend, getting super amped that Chance engaged with a dance movement that had been floating around the internet for the past week. While it has a similar trajectory as the Mannequin Challenge, it’s up in the air whether or not it’ll be as big. That’s because pulling off the Optimistic Challenge requires a certain capability to dance without looking totally lame.
However, that probably won’t keep those who can’t dance, and white people from inevitably killing the viral craze much like they did with the Mannequin Challenge.
“As far as white people ‘ruining’ the movement, I said it as basic Twitter satire, but it’s something we’ve grown accustomed to,” says Gerald Kelly, a 27-year-old from Poughkeepsie, New York. “Black people are at the forefront of style and pop culture, and everyone wants a piece of it, which is cool as long as our art is being respected, cause black people don’t have much, so we create for ourselves, and it’s sometimes annoying to see others outside the culture that didn’t care too much try to get a piece of ours whenever it’s hot and try to make it something for everyone, like they did with twerking and the dab.”
Beyond simply taking the internet by storm, some Twitter users pointed out that the Optimistic Challenge symbolizes black people’s sheer resilience to remain happy, even when things go south.
“At the heart of it, everything about the optimistic challenge is self-explanatory,” says Kelly. “It’s just symbolic to me personally cause my people been through a lot, and we still find ways to be creative and innovative. It’s a way of telling people things can be worse, and enjoy your time on this planet whenever you can.”
Please, nobody, tell Paul Ryan about this dance.
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