The Bay Area Bros is an organization started by Major, Nate and Jelani, They started this organization last year and threw the first annual Bay Area Twitter Link Up Party. Earlier this month they took the time to sit down with CSUITEMUSIC to discuss their movement and to clear the air on some things. Check out the exclusive interview below:
What is the Bay Area Bros?
Nate- The Bay Area Bros is a tag that Major came up with. We were trying to figure out what we're doing with this whole Twitter Link Up event and then from there it became more than just a title for who we are as a group. When you're with your bros it's the people you consider like family, you're close with them, right? So the Bay Bros is kind of a thing that we were trying to do something positive for the Bay, so it became like an identity.
Can you tell us about the inception of the BAB?
Nate- I was at work one day bored on Twitter and I noticed my homegirl from ATL was retweeting these girls tagging ATL girls break the internet. So I seen the tag and I was like yeah bro, I'm trying to go viral, what you think? I told Jelani, because I don't have a lot of followers like that, but Jelani has like thousands. So I was like you trying to do this hashtag and he was like, yeah, it's good, let's run with it. So that's when it started, I put Bay girls break the internet and tagged some of the top girls on Twitter and it was over from there; They started posting their pictures, they started retweeting it, just everybody we saw was doing the hashtag and retweeting and the s**t went viral and went number two locally. We did the hashtag, then the Link Up Party and it was history after that.
What led to the creation of the Twitter Link Up Party?
Major- It was basically us thinking, how could we do something to bring these people out? Let's do something to get these people to link up. So once we sat down and really put our heads together, it was just like, okay, this is the idea, this how we going to do this and the next thing you know we got a link up and it's going crazy because, nobody really thought to do that idea. Nobody was really willing to put it out there because there's the risk like, what if nobody shows up? So for the first one, we put our time and money into it and that's what came from it. We just started building.
How was the response to the first event?
Nate- The first event was at Cannery Park in Hayward, we were in the middle of a residential area, and we could of got shut down quick. The first hour or two, it was like 100 people, maybe less than that, like 75. You can tell when people started recording themselves at the event having fun and we had a flood of like 300 people that showed up. The cops showed up, they were cool about it, because we told them it was a high school reunion, and they just asked us to turn the music down. So we turned the music down, they stayed the whole time and there was no issues, everyone had a good time.
In your opinion, what was the best part of the event?
Major- I would say the energy that everybody brought. Nobody brought negative energy, it was just real good energy and I feel like that's what the Bay Area culture represents, that energy that nobody can imitate. So when they come to us for that and I feel like a lot of people from out of state come here for that energy and just for us to throw an event that embodies that energy and shows off that culture, I think that was a humongous thing.
Do you feel like the Link Up actually helped people connect?
Nate- I do. The link up was for everyone, men and women from the Bay to come together and actually link up and connect, make connections, business connections, frank connections, relationship connections, depending on the situation. At the Link Up, you expect
people to come up to you and talk to you.
What is the Link Up Party like? If I am a stranger walking up to the event, what am I going to see?
Nate- We have food, we have music, we're working on like mini games and other things like big Connect Four, stuff that is interactive; a grown up playground is basically what we are trying to curate over the next few years. Maybe video games, depending on the location we have the event at and stuff like that.
How is Bay Area culture exemplified within your events?
Major- We try to push the Bay culture so much within our events. We pay for everything ourselves and we provide it free for the people, you know what I'm saying. But even the people that we get, like we hire people from the Bay. Food wise this year we did Munchie House, last year we did Hot Dog, Co. these are Bay Area based food companies. From the security that we use to some of the DJ's that we use, we try to keep it in house as much as possible.
Was the vibe at the 2nd Link Up Party different from the first one?
Jelani- I think the first one the vibe was more hype, because it was new, so it was kind of like wow. I mean the first one like 400, 500 people were there and the second one it was close to a thousand people. When you double those types of numbers, you're going to have the same vibe, but it's just going to be a little different.
Nate- People were walking up the entire time the event was going one and at no time was it the same amount of people. At the first one we kind of capped out like same amount of people showed up and it was kind of what it was and everybody was rocking. This time people were walking up the entire time the party was happening. We was going to the end and people were still walking up at 15, 10 minutes left, so it was hard to get a full vibe, because it never capped out.
Do you guys want to keep the Link Up Party that big?
Nate- Moving forward we definitely want to have large numbers, but we want to cap it out because you want to create some sort of exclusivity. If you allow everybody in, there's no way to make things better for the next one. We want to cap out at a certain number, we don't know the number yet, but we want to cap out. So it's like, look, you need to get there on time, you need to pre-order and do whatever to make sure you're there to be part of the experience or you just got to wait until the next event.
Were you guys worried about getting shut down this year?
Jelani- This year we had all the permits we needed to have, like you couldn't tell me we weren't allowed to have a thousand people there when we had all the permits and went through every protocol. The police was right across the street, he came and checked all our names and took our numbers down and we were good, we had all the security and control we were supposed to have.
Before we started the interview, Nate said you guys wanted to clear the air on some things. Please elaborate.
Nate- At the end of the party there was a hiccup as far as the last 15 minutes. There was a fight that broke out, security wasn't on top of it and because of that some shots were fired into the air. Instead of talking about the positivity of the day, they just ran with that story and that was the whole entire promotion of the event. Also what happened was KRON 4 picked up the news story and talked about the 200 person permit party and it grew to 700 and became out of control. They went across the street at the golf course and talked to some white folks who were talking about how absurd and crazy the party was, blah, blah, blah.
How did this reaction to what happened make you guys feel?
Nate- It hurt. One, we had all our permits so I don't know what KRON 4 was talking about when they said that we didn't have our permits. We had all our permits to have over 350 plus people there, so we could of had 1000, 2000, 5000 people. We paid for those permits months in advance. I was personally dealing with the police department for two months, getting the permits clear and the police knew about that event at least two and a half months before it happened, so I'm confused. We've never promoted violence and negativity, it's all about positivity and a fun safe environment for everyone to have fun and enjoy themselves and be social as a community.
Jelani- I want people to understand that people weren't shooting at people. Like I've seen some situations were people were shooting and it was shots fired back, but it didn't happen like that. Like people that are from out here, not the gentrifiers, know that shots is sometimes how you end parties when you don't have enough control over it, you shoot in the air, the party's over and it's time to go. That's it. Nobody was shot, nobody was in the hospital, it wasn't as deep as people are trying to make it. But the people on the outside who wished we weren't doing stuff like that, they're gonna demonize the situation.
What will be different next year?
Nate- So I wanted to speak on that and let people know that we're taking major precautions to make the next one a lot safer and controlled with controlled numbers and controlled security at every entry and exit ways. Also, no one's going to get in for free anymore. It's not going to be crazy just like five or ten bucks at the door, to make sure that we can pay the people that are helping us create more for them. So we just wanted to clear the air on what our message and vision has always been for this event and moving forward how we're going to change to make things better for everyone that does show up to our events.
How do you guys fund your events?
Major- We invested our own money. People think we got crazy sponsors or somebody invested in this, but it was literally our own money and our own ideas. Us coming together, sitting at tables like this like hey, this is how much we have to get together to make this happen for you guys. We got to pay to have it catered, we got to pay for DJ's, speakers, generators, games, waters whatever. We paid for this out our own pockets and we came together to do that. That in itself is a big deal and that's what we want to promote.
Do you guys plan to collaborate with anyone on events?
Nate-We aren't looking to collab with anyone per se, as far as events and promoting outlets. We want to continue to grow as a group here, see what we can do on our own and then once we get to a certain level then we might outsource and try to do collabs with people.
Do you guys have pretty defined roles or do you just do what needs to be done?
Jelani- We end up breaking everything up and deciding who needs to do what, but it's certain stuff that can't get done by everyone. For example, Nate said earlier, he doesn't have a lot of followers on social media, so that's up to me and Major to get the events out there and promote, because we have more followers. So essentially we just play into everybody's strengths.
Major- We don't operate like everybody got to be a Kobe, Lebron or Shaq, I think we all just do whatever we need to do to help. It's not about our egos. I'm comfortable to let them go handle some business. Like if I come talk to the media on behalf of us, they trust me and if he goes and gets the permits or the DJ's, we trust him. I think we got like that triangle of trust where we'd be like, look, I trust Jelani to go handle this business. I trust that he's going to put something up that represents us the right way and clearly puts out our message without him having any other motives. Like he does it on behalf of us and I feel the same way about Nate and they feel the same way about me. So I think we all just go out there with the attitude and it comes out perfect. That's what we embody as a team like we move as a unit.
Anything else you guys want to add?
Jelani- Personally, I just want to thank the whole Bay Area Bros, not just the main people but Gabe, Kendall, Cameron our camera man, Dre and Tavien. Some of them might not be part of the events anymore, but they helped start it and we want to appreciate them for that. We want to definitely thank Munchie House and Hot Dog Co. I don't know how events like that would last without some actual food. Also, we'd like to thank all our DJ's- DJ Jasmine, DJ-J12, DJ Ash B, DJ Castle and DJ Kenzo.
Major- We'd also like to thank the people! Can't have a Bay Area party without the Bay Area people. Also, anyone that has ever stayed after to help clean up, especially the second party. The cleaning got done really fast, so anyone who helped to clean up or picked up a bag you are so so appreciated!
Michaela P. Shelton is Managing Editor of CSUITEMUSIC.com
Read more from Michaela at Darealmichaela1.com