Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Oakland Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan Nominates “BBQ Becky” Victim for Oakland Parks and Rec Position

Kenzie Smith said, “I’m not going to let someone else have a ‘BBQ Becky.'”

By Momo Chang
Tue, May 22, 2018 at 5:19 PM

click to enlarge Kenzie Smith (left) and Onsayo Abram at Sunday's event "BBQing While Black" at Lake Merritt in Oakland. - COURTESY OF KENZIE SMITH
  • Courtesy of Kenzie Smith
  • Kenzie Smith (left) and Onsayo Abram at Sunday's event "BBQing While Black" at Lake Merritt in Oakland.

Kenzie Smith never thought that barbecuing at Lake Merritt might lead to a future role in public office. Smith is one of the two Black men who was the target of a white woman (now known as "BBQ Becky") who called the police, leading to protest barbecues and references on Saturday Night Live.

Oakland Councilmember At-Large Rebecca Kaplan announced today that she's recommending and nominating Smith to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission. “He has a deep commitment to the Oakland community and a track record of public service and philanthropy,” she wrote in a statement.

Smith said he's excited by the prospect. “I’m not going to let someone else have a ‘BBQ Becky,'” he told the Express.

The Parks and Recreation Advisory Commission reports and makes recommendations to the city council on Parks and Recreation policies. The commission consists of 11 seats, appointed by the mayor and council to represent the citizens of Oakland.

Smith, a lifelong Oakland resident, community activist, and founder of Dope Era Magazine, said there’s a lot he wants to accomplish. He hopes to start a nonprofit that will employ youth during the summer, including keeping the Lake Merritt area clean.

The recommendation will go to the mayor, who'll have to approve it.

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