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The Strategy Room

Instagram Live “Verzuz Battles”, TikTok Challenges and The Black Lives Matter Movement

By: Ezraya Drumgo

QUICK PR READS YOU CAN TACKLE BETWEEN BITES 

Happy Wednesday, Lunch Breakers! We’re continuing to social distance and work from home while catching up on all of the latest social media challenges and trends. 

In this week’s edition, we’re talking about the popular hip-hop royalty battles on Instagram live, the rise of viral TikTok challenges, and the uprising of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

The Era of the Verzuz Battles  

Since mid-March, the “Verzuz Battles,” a weekly showdown of rap, hip hop and R&B artists battling each other through Instagram live has become an extremely popular quarantine viewing trend. There are a few rules but in simple terms it comes down to just two singers, songwriters or producers who alternate their music catalogue of popular hits and the live audience determines the winner of the battle.  

The Saturday night series created by producers Timbaland and Swizz Beats, who faced off during the first showdown, has inspired others to use music to uplift people during these troubling times. Other notable battles have featured T-Pain vs. Lil Jon, Nelly vs. Ludacris, and DJ Premier vs. RZA and most recently Beenie Man vs. Bounty Killer representing for Caribbean music.  

One Verzuz battle that ended up sending Instagram into a frenzy, with the creation of memes to show for it, was R&B singers Babyface vs. Teddy Riley. Technical difficulties from Teddy Riley led to the much-awaited showdown getting postponed. Fortunately, the rematch went smoothly, and fans thoroughly enjoyed the show without any interruptions.  

Learning from Teddy Riley’s mishap, it’s critical to do a test run before hosting a live event on a social media platform to work out any troubleshooting issues that you could run into later.     

TikTok Challenges and a New Wave of Influencers 

The era of TikTok is not slowing down yet! Various new challenges and trends have popped up during this period of staying at home. Look no further than the Savage Challenge inspired by Megan Thee Stallion’s hit song, “Savage,” that has creators embracing their inner beauty. There has also been the Don’t Rush Challenge, and the “Wipe It Down” mirror challenge, revealing your alter ago while in between motions of wiping a mirror.  Celebrities and TikTok influencers with millions of views on their videos have been instrumental in making these challenges go viral.   

TikTok has created a new group of amateur social media influencers that don’t know how to handle their newfound success. Many of whom are not familiar with how to handle the media, press or booking television interviews for themselves, so they are all turning to PR agencies for help. In this article from the Hollywood Reporter, Marlee Martinez founder of Valleymade & Co says “TikTok stars have the ‘It’ factor at the moment. They connect with their young audience with humor, creativity and fashion statements.… These stars are appealing for brand placements as they use innovative storytelling to a large audience.”  

Black Lives Matter Movement 

American cities have seen significant protests in reaction to the injustice of the death of George Floyd, just the most recent example, along with Breonna Taylor, of what many consider unequal treatment of black men, women, and children during police involved incidents. 

The growth of the #Blacklivesmatter movement since Trayvon Martin’s death in 2012, occurred primarily through social media and earned media coverage such as the Wall Street Journal’s recent coverage of the faces and voices of the George Floyd protest. This serves as an example of the way a social media hashtag can stimulate a global movement to influence systemic change in the criminal justice system.   

Brands React to “Blackout Tuesday” 

Yesterday, a social media movement called “Blackout Tuesday,” created by music industry insiders, called for a halt on typical business operations in response to the George Floyd protests. Brands such as Apple, ShoeDazzle. TikTok, Live Nation and more participated in the cause. In addition, there was a call to action to instead post a single black image with the hashtag #BlackOutTuesday in solidarity with the George Floyd protests and message. 

Building upon social media hashtags and movements can be instrumental in supporting an existing cause like this one. We can continue to see the influence popular brands can have in larger conversations in the media, especially on social justice.  




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