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March 5th, 2015
Seems like everyone isn’t a fan of the planking phenomenon.
Rapper Xzibit took to his Twitter page in a tirade against planking, saying that the new trend of laying prostrate in strange places and photographing has origins in the slave trade, where transported slaves were chained, face down, to slave beds.
“Planking was a way to transport slaves on ships during the slave trade, it’s not funny. Educate yourselves,” he also tweeted.”Don’t get it twisted. I care less where your dumb asses lay face down and take pictures of the shit, I’m just telling you where it came from.”
Marcus Rediker, professor of Atlantic history and author, agrees.
“To ‘plank’ was not necessarily a verb used by slave ship merchants and captains,” Rediker wrote in an email to The Washington Post. “But the planks of the lower deck are precisely where millions of Africans were forced to lie and sleep on the Middle Passage, in conditions of utter horror that defy description. No matter what the intention of the founders of the recent fad, there is a connection to the slave trade and it is a painful one, not least because we have been reluctant to face this part of our common history.”
Planking is assumed to have been created in 2000 by Gary Clarkson and Gary Langston, who called it the “lying down game.” Eight years later, Sam Weckert and a group of friends adopted the “game” and renamed it “planking,” and it spread like viral fire throughout the Internet.
Not all stars are down on the face down fad. Celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Chris Brown and Kings of Leon have posted pictures of themselves planking on Twitter.