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The Try Not To Headbang Challenge is a social game for heavy metal music fans similar to Try Not To Laugh Or Grin challenges but instead involves multiple rock songs being played while the participant is forced to not headbang. The trend started on YouTube in early 2017. In 2021 and 2022, the challenge trended on TikTok. A "Level: Expert" challenge inspired non-metal heads on TikTok to create their own, ironic version using the sound.
On February 21st, 2017, YouTuber Hard Core posted a video that is the first known Try Not To Headbang Challenge on the platform. Over the course of five years, the video received roughly 1.2 million views (shown below).
On March 5th, 2017, Hard Core posted a part two Try Not To Headbang Challenge that earned roughly 576,200 views in five years (shown below, left). More YouTubers joined the trend going into the rest of the month. For instance, on March 18th, 2017, YouTuber Jared Dines posted a challenge video that received roughly 2.3 million views over the course of five years (shown below, right).
More YouTube channels followed the trend going into 2017, like YouTube channel Loudwire whose video, posted on April 10th, 2017, was titled, "10 Try Not to Headbang Challenges (Expert)." Over the course of five years, it earned roughly 4.3 million views (shown below).
Try Not To Headbang Challenges on TikTok
Starting in late 2019, Try Not To Headbang Challenges surfaced on TikTok. On November 19th, 2019, TikToker brook3baby posted part one of her Try Not To Headbang Challenge series, earning roughly 14,900 plays and 1,600 likes in three years (shown below, left). On November 20th, 2019, TikToker brook3baby posted part two of her series, earning roughly 128,800 plays and 8,700 likes in three years (shown below, right). She is one of the first users on the platform to post these challenges.
A year later, in November 2020, TikToker just_burton created a Try Not To Headbang Challenge sound with a video that has since been deleted. However, going into November 2020, multiple TikTokers used his sound and earned viral engagement. For instance, on November 10th, 2020, Tiktoker goatslaughter posted a video that earned roughly 241,000 plays and 25,600 likes in a year and a half (shown below, left). On November 11th, 2020, TikToker thrash.till.death posted a video that earned roughly 3.1 million plays and 245,800 likes in a year and a half (shown below, right).
On February 16th, 2022, TikToker jvarvel74 posted a video in which he was conducting a "Try Not To Headbang Challenge Level: Expert." His video received roughly 2.6 million plays and 117,100 likes in two months (shown below, left). As the video appeared on many people's For You pages, it reached audiences not associated with metal music. In turn, many ironic versions were created using jvarvel74's sound. For instance, on March 26th, 2022, TikToker kittykweenx posted a video of her and her horse doing the challenge, earning roughly 8.3 million plays and 2.2 million likes in one month (shown below, right).
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