Residents at Arcadia Senior Living in Bowling Green, Kentucky, went viral on TikTok last month for performing a recreation of Rihanna’s recent Super Bowl halftime show. As of March 6, the video featuring residents singing and dancing to Rihanna’s 2009 hit single “Rude Boy” has racked up an incredible 3.5 million likes and over 30 million views.
Paige Oakes, Arcadia’s director of community relations, and Maitlin Nuckols, the facility’s director of life engagement, had the idea to create a TikTok account showcasing their residents’ talents. They never dreamed it would garner so much attention.
“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” appeared in local news stories, Oakes and Nuckols brainstormed ideas for more videos. They made a handful of others before coming up with the performance of Rihanna’s song, which you can view below.
@arcadiasrlivingbg Our halftime show > Rihanna’s halftime show 💃🏈🤍🎶🎤 #seniorlivingcommunity #halftimeshow #SuperBowl #rihanna #fyp ♬ original sound – Brian Esperon
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.
Oakes and Nuckols assembled a brilliant group of 12 women aged 84 to 92 for their video.
It didn’t take long for the TikTok video to go viral. Within one day, it had more than a million views. On Feb. 27, the staff and residents were thrilled to receive a stunning bouquet of long-stemmed red roses from the artist’s record label boss, Jay-Z.
Then came another surprise. On March 4, Rihanna herself bestowed the social media stars with a beautiful bunch of white roses.
“You ladies’ dance was amazing,” Rihanna had written on the card.
Aside from achieving (at least) 15 minutes of fame, the facility’s TikTok account helps keep the residents engaged.
“It’s obviously great advertisement to see our residents truly living their best life,” Oakes told Insider.
The residents who participate in the videos don’t plan to stop anytime soon.
“It keeps you young,” Martin told Insider. “I feel like I’m 16 years old.”