The "Challenge Accepted" Trend, Explained

You've probably spotted a ton of black-and-white photos on your feed.

Khloe Kardashian black and white selfie
(Image credit: Kerry Washington/Instagram)

As of this moment, the #ChallengeAccepted hashtag has been used on Instagram three million times. This isn't the first time the Challenge Accepted trend has appeared alongside a black-and-white photo; in 2016 it was for cancer awareness, and since then it's been used to spread positivity. Once nominated, the woman in question posts a photo and then nominates at least one other woman, who does the same. If your feed's been inundated with artsy black-and-white photos, you've been nominated yourself, or you're just very curious about what's going on, fear not. I have all the answers for you, as well as some context. Get ready, because there may be a lot more of this on your feed in the next couple days.

How did the #ChallengeAccepted trend get started?

According to The New York Times speaking to PR manager Cristine Abram, this recent trend may have originated from "a video of Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaking out against Representative Ted Yoho’s sexist remarks against her on the floor of Congress last week [that] led to a spike in social media posts about feminism and female empowerment." The earliest instance of the trend that could be found on Instagram came from journalist Ana Paula Padrão.

The hashtag #womensupportingwomen is often used alongside #ChallengeAccepted; The trend's gotten criticism since it took off, with others comparing this to the recent "black square" trend that can indeed be a sign of solidarity but also does not require much by way of long-term, concrete advocacy.

As the trend has continued, women have begun moving away from posting their faces and more towards posting about Black-owned businesses they appreciate, causes they care about, and important issues like Breonna Taylor and arresting the cops who killed her.

And other users have encouraged following up the trend with activism.

Which celebrities have taken part in #ChallengeAccepted?

I really do love this Hollywood glam from Katie Holmes:

I enjoyed this caption from Ava DuVernay: "Pretty sure this is just a cool excuse to post pix, but I’m gonna always roll with whatever Janine Sherman Barrois and Violet Nelson ask me to do no matter what."

And I'm sure there are many more to come today.

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Katherine J. Igoe
Contributing Editor

Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.