If you haven’t still heard of the kiki challenge, well, I wonder which world you’re living in. For the ignorant and uninitiated, it’s a challenge where people get out of their cars and dance to the catchy tunes of Canadian rapper Drake’s track, “In my feelings”, which starts with the words “Kiki, do you love me?” And then they jump right back into the moving vehicle! This is the latest social media craze, with young people posting videos of themselves gyrating to this tune alongside moving cars.
Now, it is all very well shimmy-shammying along a sleepy lane in the beautiful backwoods of Canada or in a rural area unfrequented by cars, (although you still do stand the danger of being bowled down by an unsuspecting driver going at full speed), but imagine dancing to this tune along Shaikh Zayed Road, or a busy highway in Delhi or Bengaluru. Or for that matter, even in London, Lahore or Rawalpindi! Most governments have rightfully banned it.
Many offshoots of this latest viral craze have hit social media. The funniest one is of someone dancing to the kiki tune in India. The person who takes on the challenge, while dancing, is constantly interrupted — first, by a man on a cycle who rudely tells him to shut his car door so he could pass, then by another man who asks him for directions, and the third time by a random pedestrian joining him in the dance! Needless to say, the guy jumps back into the car in disgust, just giving up on the challenge. Way to go, buddy!
And the very latest news is of two farmers in South India swinging to the kiki as they plough their rice fields. They’ve become an internet sensation ever since a comedian who hosts a popular show in America posted the video of the duo on social media accounts and quipped that he thought they’d won the kiki challenge! There are other videos too, one of them of a (cute) dog dancing along to the jigs. It seems the dance challenge has kept police on their toes from as far away as Punjab and Patiala. Talk about the reach of social media.
There are definite movements to this dance — and (I lie not!) entire tutorials teaching it. Shake-shake, shimmy-shimmy, what have you! Yes, just like you can learn to jiggy, you can learn to kiki too.
Social media crazes come in all shapes and sizes. Remember the blue whale game that was sweeping the world some time ago, with sometimes horrific results? And then there was the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, an activity that involved throwing a bucket of ice and water over a participant’s head, either self-administered or by someone else. Although this dare had the noble aim of raising money for research into motor-neurone disease, it was met with a certain amount of criticism because it was accused of primarily focusing on fun rather than donating money to charity. There have been other challenges too, many of them mind-boggling. Take, for example, the cinnamon challenge where participants swallow a spoonful of ground cinnamon without drinking any water, and then upload the video on the internet. Or the Salt and Ice challenge, where participants put salt on their bodies, usually on their arms, and then place ice on the salt. This causes a burning sensation, and participants try to withstand the pain for as long as possible.
Well, there are all kinds of challenges and videos recording them fast-streaming on the ‘net, and I guess kids and young people are attracted to them not just because of the sheer humdrum routine of their lives (especially during the long, hot summers) but it also often gives them their five minutes of fame, their moment of glory, where they appear to be heroic in the eyes of their friends and peers.
I’m guessing more — and crazier — challenges may come up. It’s a generation thing. What the young do, the old disapprove of. It’s as old as time itself. Even as I write this, I am reading that the kiki challenge is now outdated. I wonder what kind of challenge is coming up next? If it’s as crazy as Kiki — well, all I can say is that the world is just going cuckoo!
Padmini B. Sankar is a Dubai-based freelance writer.