Oakland’s Second ‘BBQ While Black’ Party’s Social Media Impact Poor? Why?
Oakland, CA – On Sunday, all of Oakland was invited to a giant ‘BBQ While Black’ party along the shores of Lake Merritt, and in response to the horrible incident that occurred on April 29th, 2018, starting at 11:30 in the morning. While the turnout amounted to a nice summer party, the social media result didn’t live up to what it could have been.
First, how did we get here with BBQ While Black? On that April 29th, 2018 day, Oaklander Kenzie Smith and three friends, all black and male and Oakland residents, had set up to do something people have done at Lake Merritt for decades: grill. But, on that day, they were approached by a young, millienial, heavy set brunette white woman, who proceeded to harass them for three hours.
The woman, named Jessica Schulte, claimed that she owned Lake Merritt, and purchased it for $5.7 million, and therefore Kenzie Smith and his friends could not fire up their grill. Then, later, she claimed that the type of way they were grilling was not legal. In other words, she was unstable, and it’s a mistake of Kenzie Smith that he didn’t call the police himself and have her taken away to the funny farm.
The result was the now famous 22 minute video made by Kenzie Smith’s now former wife Michelle. That YouTube video of the blue-hoodied Jessica Schulte, on her cell phone calling Oakland Police, and crying over the matter, and Michelle’s rightfully interrogative questioning, went viral. It catapulted Jessica Schulte into the spotlight under the name “BBQ Becky.” She became so famous, with that hoodie, that her image and pecharacter was featured on a Saturday Night Live episode.
Meanwhile, Oakland’s black community demanded action. The ‘BBQing While Black’ Party has been but one of those efforts. But how did social media respond to the Oakland ‘BBQing While Black’ Party?
According to BuzzSumo, ‘BBQing While Black had only four items of content, and received 2,582 engagements, 42 Twitter shares, no Pinterest representations, no Reddit engagements, one article link, and only one online post considered “evergreen.”
The analysis from BuzzSumo did not include instagram posts, or YouTube video mentions. Still, it’s hard to believe the numbers for ‘BBQing While Black would have been dramatically better if they were included.
Why the problem?
It’s only because the organizers did not create the event with an eye toward encouraging the use of social media in any kind of way that would help send a lasting message. There was no effort to advance a Twitter hashtag, or make a series of videos under one title, to name two possible efforts that could have helped.
In other words, the event organizers have to make a social media plan for ‘BBQing While Black and stick to it.