“In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes” – Andy Warhol
Apologies in advance for the long article. This is just a timeline on how we ended up on National and International news. Teen Vogue, Stormzy and Ashton Kutcher posting about the movement as well
— #GSAP (@Stormzy1) May 3, 2017
MONDAY: THE BEGINNING
20:25: Ore notifies us that the post is up so we can share
20:49: The Tab Cambridge tries to get in on it, asks if any of us will be willing to write an article for them. Air them.
22:00: Unnamed Cam black boy who doesn’t not attend any ACS events, replies to a comment mentioning him “must have missed the memo”. Of course you did when you’re always airing guys. [Slight detour, this guy added me on Facebook, when we had never met, the messaged he to vote for him for something. So shameless with his plugging. I said fair play, I respect the hustle, I’ll give you my vote. I saw him on the road one time, thought he’d stop to say wassup or at least thanks for the vote, but man aired me. Lmao I was actually pained].
22:07 64 shares and 319 reacts of the Facebook post
22:38: 150 reacts in the last 35 mins. Facebook doing much better than the twitter on. Someone jokes that Stormzy retweets us.
TUESDAY (DAY BEFORE MY DREADED DOUBLE EXAM DAY)
08:21: More than 1,000 reacts on FB. I genuinely thought this was as far as it would go. Little did I know.
11:48: Buzzfeed the first big one to pick up the story. DM a couple of us for comments, the message you’ve got for young black boys out there and a bit about your experience as black guys at Cambridge. I’m trying to pass my exams so I give it a pass I trust the boys to take care of it
This means we need to come up with a consistent message to the public . The consensus to keep the message positive. Not to be anti-Cambridge and just encourage more people to apply.
12:39: As at this time some guy called Jack May has essentially hijacked the tweet. Sort of remixes the story saying
— Jack May (@JackO_May) May 2, 2017
The tweet had about 300 RTs by this time. More than the ACS account. Not all of us were from the 2015 admissions cycle. But if more people are sharing that can only be a good thing, right?
13:25: Channel 4 News contact one of the boys and says they’re interested in making a video. It begins to feel deep, didn’t know it would get this far. Bez decides to take it. I think he does a wonderful job in staying on message
14:30: The Guardian wanna speak
14:51: We’re trending in London
We begin to be weary of the media just quoting the stat and painting us as anti-uni. And why does every one think we are the 15 from 2015? Try to control the message all from one source. People on the group chat seem to be more wary of the media than I was. I would have been happy to give interviews but didn’t for reasons I’ll go into later. Consensus is settled on keeping it positive and doing media to get the ACS exposure and hopefully cash to host some access events to help prospective students
16:00: Bez does the Channel 4 interview
17:55: Buzzfeed article is released
18:59: BBC wanna talk but they want quotes
19:05: Varsity, a student newspaper want to talk but people have had bad experiences with them so we say nah
19:18: The Channel 4 video drops on Facebook. Why are some white people so salty. I’ll talk about the comments later
20:25: Fifth trending article in Buzzfeed
20:55: Word is some of the black students at Cambridge aren’t too happy about the pictures.
21:05: Questions from the BBC “Why did you decide to pose for this photo? Whose idea was it? It has been liked 1.8k times in 24 hours – what’s your reaction to this? What message do you want to send out with this photo? What encouraged you to apply for Cambridge? The post mentions only 15 black, male undergraduates were accepted into Cambridge in 2015 – why do you think that is? How can more black men be encouraged to apply to top universities?” Man has got his double exams tomorrow so I ain’t got time to answer the questions
Note of caution to everyone to be careful about what they say on social media as these media people would pick it up and use as part of the story
23:00: Man has to switch off and try to stay focused on the exams
23:13: BBC say “it should be published overnight or early morning to reach our commuter audience”
WEDNESDAY: DAY OF MY DOUBLE EXAMS
05:19: BBC article is published
05:32: See AlJazeera tweeted about it 5 hrs ago. Tweet had 1,000RTs at this point
06:50: There’s a twitter moment about us
07:35: BBC Two want to speak
08:02: BBC World Service want to speak
08:09 BBC Want us on TV this morning
How do they have all these guys numbers and emails??? Sort of makes me feel safe nobody reached out to me on my email or phone number
08:11: Peter and Jimi volunteer to do the interview for TV
08:20 BBC wants to book a cab to take some of the guys to the studio
Second stab at it, this time mention the stuff black women have done behind the scenes as well, etc.
08:35: Some of the guys agree to meet at Ore’s for some interview prep. Meanwhile I’m cycling off to the department to write my first exam. I spot one of the Peter on his way to the interview. Wish him goodluck briefly before going to face my exams
09:00: BBC ain’t gonna write this exam for me so I gotta write it myself
09:26: Dami does a Radio interview
09:50: Mashable messaging everyone on FB
10:15: Ore is in the studio on live TV giving an interview with Jimi and Peter. Absolutely slays it.
10:40: Done with my first exam
10:48: BBC Radio 4 want to talk. Just how many BBCs are there??? At this point, it is a question of I got a message from X, who wants to take it
10:48: There is another interview on BBC Radio 5
Chelsea, one of the girls involved reminds us we don’t have to say yes to everything. Media people will publish a story with or without you is what I learnt from this. They’re on a race against the newscycle. Gotta say something about the trending topic while they can
10:53: Mashable reporter persistent
11:22: The University still unlooking the whole campaign
11:34: A recent grad, got a call from BB3. Like I said media people will find anyway to get a comment on their story, if they can’t they will go on without you. I guess I can’t hate on them for doing their job
11:40: ITV article
12:00: Ore, the coordinator says she’s ghosting for the next 4 hours. Understandable because we all have degrees.
12:10 BBC Cambridge wanted one of the guys on the breakfast show tomorrow. As you probably predicted, people start mixing up the BBCs haha
13:00: Sunday Times want to talk. Other orgs wanna get in on it as well. RARE, a BME empowerment organisation want to.
13:44: Theres a Channel 5 News Interview at 17:30 apparently
13:49: Another BBC interview. Sky News also want to talk
13:51. Ijeshop promise us Jollof on social media. It’s been a week, contacted them but still no Jollof issokay.
14:00 BBC ain’t gonna write my second exam either
14:52: Set up some meetings with potential sponsors
15:05: Daily Telegraph wanna talk. Ore says not to talk to them, that they are cancelled. I think it’s a bit harsh but I probably don’t know UK media as much as she does
15:29: CEO of Amos Bursary is doing an interview and wants some comments
15:30 Done with exams for the day. Flopped the second one, first one wasn’t too bad. One more left
16:43: Stormzy posts our pic! Like he didn’t quote. Like he screenshotted it to his phone and posted it and tagged the ACS account. Actually put thought into it! A few days ago we were joking about Stormzy posting it
17:04 We’re on the MSN homepage
17:26: Guys start getting facebook messages from guys, girls, and namesakes . “*Pretending my name is rare* bloody hell mate, we have the same name and we both study engineering. We should be friends! haha”- Actual message sent by someone[not to me], “Looking Hot Dennis”
17:27: Someone shares a tweet from a Cambridge female recent graduate essentially slating us for not recognising the work black women to in activism. It felt more like a personal attack on us for not doing enough. I’ll talk about this more later but if you feel someone doing something for the first time, seems a bit mean to critique the person for having never done it before. Would have linked the thread, but the account is padlocked now.
17:47: Some even said we didn’t support their Youtube channels
17:57: My mum messages me. Wondered how long it would take to reach her haha. “My momma called, “seen you on TV, son“”
18:15: Word is Oxford are about to do one with girls
18:17: Some guy from talkRADIO (what even is that) messages us. Calls one the guys the wrong name lmao. Like the time I sent a cover letter to a company with a different company in the address. Lool Cut and Paste can be a bitch
19:21: FADER wanna talk. I had just spoken to my mum and she asked why I didn’t do any interview so I was just gonna do this one to please her and because Davido entred Fader and said I cover magazine I cover magazine. They aired me in the end
21:49: Some girls wants to take a train from Brighton to take a photo of us at the weekend for her dissertation. Random
23:00 Turns out [name redacted] didn’t share the ACS post as well until later later.
00:25: Find out CAmbridge Uni finally posted something about the campaign
06:09: Shortlist offering ££ for an 800 word article
09:36: Chemical Engineering Board wanna talk
09:37: Someone spots the HuffPost Black Voices article
09:39: Teen Vogue caught wind of the story!
10:00 More Messages to various members of the group,
“Nice to meet you here could know longer get you on your phone, everything okay?”
“You just came up as a suggested friend..,”
“I love you”
“I know you think I’ve forgotten about you and all but I do think about you sometimes, I just forget to text 😳”
14:19: CUSU article gets published. Some good points. Didn’t get the part about black men can “more easily inhabit a ‘cool’ aesthetic”. More on that later
14:40: Our twitter hater comes back again with more. Attack feels way too personal now wow
15:35 Telegraph is really cancelled. Ore was right.
Telegraph. Cancelled. One of the guys spoke to them and they twisted the headline to
‘Don’t blame Cambridge University for lack of black students,’ says students’ society
What a betrayed
15:59: ACS gets a sponsorship deal out of it
17:05: See Washington Post Article
19:12 Oxford shares their own post. Theirs has a more militant tone to the message I feel.
FRIDAY: STORM IS OVER. EXAM ON MONDAY
Basically get offered a chance to do a live TV show programme with some company. Ore talks to them. Feel it will be too political and discourage applications so she says no. She tells us to say no to them because she feels we’ll be contacted behind her back. She was right. About 5 was us were asked behind her back to go on the show. I just aired them. Media can be snakes
REST OF THE TIME
A couple of BBC Radio interviews by other people not involved in the photo, we had a meeting with an alumni guy that wanted to see how he could help out and bounce ideas. Cool guy. More messages from strangers, mini-beef, some KPMG guy on LinkedIn messaged most of us. Ashton Kutcher posted about us. Our picture was the subject of a lecture on critical race theory at the University of York
To be continued…