Last month, residents of Arcadia Senior Living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, became popular on TikTok for imitating Rihanna’s most recent Super Bowl halftime performance. As of March 6, the video showed locals dancing and singing to Rihanna’s top-charting single from 2009, “Rude Boy” 3.5 million likes and over 30 million views, which is astounding.
The idea for creating a TikTok account showing their residents’ skills came from Paige Oakes, director of community connections at Arcadia, and Maitlin Nuckols, director of life engagement at the facility. They had no idea it would attract so much interest.
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“We were just trying to create something new and exciting for the residents to do,” Nuckols told the Washington Post. “Something different for them.”
After their recreation of Miley Cyrus’ “Flowers” Oakes and Nuckols discussed ideas for more videos after their work was featured in regional news articles. Before coming up with the rendition of Rihanna’s song that you can watch here, they created a number of others.
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Dora Martin, an 87-year-old resident, was the perfect fit for Arcadia’s recreation of the performance. She had a personality that fit the part and the ideal all-red outfit to replicate the singer’s clothing. As soon as she got the knock on her door, she said yes with excitement.
“I was excited that they even asked me,” Martin, who had already been in other Arcadia TikToks, told the Washington Post. For their video, Oakes and Nuckols put together a fantastic team of 12 women ranging in age from 84 to 92.
The TikTok video went popular quickly after it was uploaded. It received more than a million views in a single day. On February 27, the artist’s record label head, Jay-Z, surprised the staff and residents with a gorgeous bouquet of long-stemmed red roses. Then another surprise appeared. On March 4, Rihanna presented a stunning bouquet of white roses to social media celebrities.
“You ladies’ dance was amazing,” Rihanna had written on the card.
The facility’s TikTok account gives residents (at least) 15 minutes of fame and keeps them interested. “It’s great advertisement to see our residents truly living their best life,” Oakes told Insider. The locals who take part in the films have no immediate plans to stop. “It keeps you young,” Martin told Insider. “I feel like I’m 16 years old.”