When a group of black cosplayers decided to pose for a group photo at DragonCon in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend, some of them didn’t expect an interloper to join them.
But one woman slipped into the photo dressed up as, well, if not a villain, then at least an unsympathetic character: “BBQ Becky.”
That’s the unflattering nickname given to Jennifer Schulte, who went viral in May after she called police on a black family barbecuing at a park in Oakland, California.
This “BBQ Becky” made quite an impression on the other people in the pic. The guy dressed as “Black Panther” villain Killmonger definitely offered some side eye, as this photo from Otis Casey Photography demonstrates.
Unlike Schulte, Tazra Rose, the woman who dressed up as “BBQ Becky,” was more mindful of the reaction she might cause.
“When I saw the articles and memes back when it first happened, I noticed how much I look like BBQ Becky,” Rose told Big Shiny Robot. “I knew it would [be] an easy cosplay to assemble but I didn’t know how it would be received.”
She was concerned that dressing as “BBQ Becky” might come across as glorifying the woman, but she was invited to the shoot by a friend who is a member of Black Geeks of DragonCon.
“For the photo shoot, I was adamant that the organizers give permission for ... me to be there as BBQ Becky because I didn’t want to actually crash the event,” she said. “Even with permission, I was nervous going out to the photo shoot. I didn’t know how it would be received at DragonCon in general and specifically at that event.”
Rose waited until the shoot was underway before she stepped into a shot with her phone already to her ear.
“Once people noticed I was there, people were laughing and cheering and clapping. Everyone seemed to immediately get the joke,” she said. “Someone, I’m not sure who, moved me to where I was when Otis Casey got the picture that’s gone viral.”
The pic featuring Rose as “BBQ Becky” has been shared more than 5,000 times on Facebook since it was first posted on Sept. 6.
Casey is happy that the picture is making people laugh but told Mashable the reality that many white people feel compelled to call police on black people living their lives is a sad fact.
“Unfortunately outside of DragonCon this will eventually happen again minus the laughs,” he said.