Why are black female celebrities joining the #ChallengeAccepted craze on Instagram?

Theodora Aidoo July 28, 2020
Pic Credit: Instagram

Just in case you haven’t noticed, Instagram has been flooded with a thread of black-and-white selfies purported to promote female empowerment. Famous faces, including Kerry Washington, Vanessa Bryant, Ava DuVernay, Taraji P. Henson have uploaded stunning photos with the hashtag #ChallengeAccepted.

The craze, or if you wish movement, is increasingly gaining momentum with participants who upload their black-and-white images nominating others to do the same. Photographs are often posed and filtered with accompanying captions like “supporting women.”

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Pretty sure this is just a cool excuse to post pix, but I’m gonna always roll with whatever @janineshermanbarrois and @thevioletnelson ask me to do no matter what – so here goes! Challenge accepted. #womensupportingwomen [?: the great @brigittelacombe]

A post shared by Ava DuVernay (@ava) on

For many, the rationale behind the idea of the “challenge accepted” craze is to use photos to promote female empowerment, and nominating friends to take part in the campaign. It has become an innovative way for women to support each other.

This #ChallengeAccepted trend, which is the latest of viral Instagram “challenges” originally started to raise awareness about cancer.

But today, the #challengeAccepted hashtag has morphed in different communities into something different. People of every age, nationality, and situation are posting selfie photos on Instagram in black and white.

So far, more than four million photos have been uploaded with the #ChallengeAccepted hashtag while others appeared without it. “Based on the posts, we’re seeing that most of the participants are posting with notes relating to strength and support for their communities,” an Instagram spokeswoman said.

Pic Credit: Instagram

Although the portraits have spread widely, the participants say very little in their posts.  It is as though the black-and-white selfie allows users to feel as if they’re taking a stand while saying little or nothing.

#ChallengeAccepted is basically women worldwide participating to show their appreciation for fellow women who have inspired them. Observing from many posts, participants take the opportunity to celebrate female friends who have stood by their side or been a support to them.

Despite the fun side of it, other women are against the craze. “Currently getting hate mail on Instagram from complete strangers because I said black and white selfies aren’t a cause,” tweeted the podcast host Ali Segel. “Apparently I hate women and don’t love myself!!!!!! I’m minding my own business for the rest of my life!!!!!!”

According to Segel, if this movement featured trans women or differently-abled women, or showcased female businesses or accomplishments or women in history, it would make more sense. “But the idea of this as a challenge or cause is really lost on me.”

Although the origin is unclear, whether or not the #ChallengeAccepted makes sense to you, it does make sense to the over four million and counting women across the globe who are posting black and white photos of themselves.

Last Edited by:Editor Updated: September 25, 2023


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