Humor

St. Pete-Based Instagram Star YungBBQ Talks Pop Culture, Gen-Z Humor & Public Dancing | Local arts | Tampa

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Adam Cole Boehm

Alexis Feacher aka “YungBBQ” outside the Bandit Cafe in St. Petersburg.

Driving through South St. Pete, you might see a young woman equipped with a speakerphone, stool, and telephone hard at work in the middle of the street. And that job usually involves energetic dancing, detailed costumes, and the nonchalant acceptance of her neighbors.

With 1.7 million Instagram followers, Alexis Feacher aka YungBBQ is a 22-year-old from St. Petersburg who loves vintage clothes, pop culture, and being your typical Gen-Zer.

Feacher launched the Instagram account Yung BBQ — which stands for “Young Beautiful Black Queen” — in late 2019, and her following has grown steadily ever since. Two years and a million subscribers later, Feacher feels it’s time to dive deeper into the world of content creation. Its name may be pronounced as “BBQ” because of the aforementioned acronym, but Feacher says “BBQ” is fine too, because it has “the sauce.”

From dressing up as celebrities and movie characters, to recreating music videos, and encapsulating nostalgia with quirky characters like “the uncle who gives you $20 vindication,” Feacher has the ability impressive to be several people at the same time. With its finger on the pulse of pop culture, YungBBQ has an endless pool of content for its loyal subscribers.

Steve from Blues Clues, Tina Turner, that random 5-year-old meme you’re still thinking about – Feacher can do it all.

One of Feacher’s most popular videos is a 10-second impersonation of R&B singer Omarion, where she copies her moves frame by frame. Every detail, from the crisp dance moves to their outfits, is eerily similar. And with 1.1 million views on Instagram, Feacher needs no context to make her fans laugh.

When asked the loaded question of “what inspires you?”, there was a long pause before she answered.

“The early 2000s nostalgia, going to barbecues, being with my family, just watching how different people interact with each other,” Feacher told Creative Loafing Tampa Bay. “Growing up in St. Petersburg, I was always surrounded by different types of music on the radio or in town – and that was also inspiring.”

And you won’t just see actors, sketches and parodies on Feacher’s Instagram, Facebook or Youtube. Quickly scroll down the YungBBQ page and you’ll see splits, high jumps, and other awesome moves. Feacher, a classically trained dancer, has been doing moves for most of her life.

If you’re one of Feacher’s many followers, you might have noticed his meticulous attention to costume detail or his signature move called the “BBQ Swerve” – ​​where his hands move from the top of his head to his knees in the middle of a hip movement. movement. Feacher says that when people recognize her on the street — which is quite often — the BBQ Swerve is often asked alongside her catchphrase, “What Da Freak?”

Click to enlarge Feacher doing his signature move, the “BBQ Swerve." - ADAM COLE BOEHM

Adam Cole Boehm

Feacher doing his signature move, the “BBQ Swerve”.

Just a few years out of high school, Feacher personifies niche memes, early 2000s pop culture references, and Disney movies only his peers would really get, like his SharkBoy and Lava Girl dance that reached over 800,000. views on Instagram.

His typical “set” is usually the street of his childhood home in South St. Pete, as his neighbor’s cars can be seen politely swerving out of the way in the background of some of his videos. But she does have a few prime spots all over town that are occasionally blessed by the “BBQ Swerve.”

“The alley behind the Iberian rooster (now closed), man, I can’t count the number of videos I’ve filmed there,” Feacher laughs.

The video where she reenacts the obscure meme of a lady dancing by the pool was filmed at the TradeWinds Island Grand Resort in St. Pete Beach, while her viral reenactment of Omarion’s squeaky dance was filmed in the Downtown Williams Park.

“I try to incorporate Florida culture into my content, and you’ll see me doing Florida-style dances like sticking and rolling and jookin’ if this video calls for it,” says Feacher. “But to be honest, I do a bit of everything.”

But for his millions of non-Tampa Bay fans, those hyperlocal details matter no less.

And with her extremely detailed costumes, it makes sense that she loves fashion as much as she loves dancing. One of her busiest spots in the Burg’ is Central Avenue’s Wendy Closet, a vintage resale store. Her outfit in the attached photos has been hijacked completely from Wendy’s Closet, as it complements her beloved lime green Air Force 1s, the shoes she’s been dancing in for years.

Feacher was already dancing when she was in kindergarten and participated in many artistic programs in St. Petersburg. Her older brother and manager, Charles Smith, works as a professional choreographer. She and her two other brothers grew up attending Boys & Girls Club arts programs at St. Pete’s Royal Theatre, a historic black performance space and movie theater that dates back to the 1940s.

“I’ve always done hip hop, but during those programs I also studied jazz, modern, and ballet,” Feacher says. “These different programs kind of made me realize that dancing was something I wanted to do long term.”

Feacher graduated from Gibbs High School in 2017 and has also participated in many types of athletic and spiritual pursuits. She worked at a local Publix until August 2020 and balanced YungBBQ and her cashier job for about a year before taking the plunge to become a full-time content creator. In several of Feacher’s previous videos, she can be seen dancing in her green Publix vest, sometimes at work. Today, she earns her living mainly through brand partnerships.

Only about two years into her career as an artist, Feacher has already partnered with powerhouse brands like the NBA, BET, DSW, Footaction, Spotify, Atlantic Records, Netflix, and Nike, as she was the face of the first virtual dance class from her exercise app. .

And big corporations aren’t the only powerful people taking notice of his content, either.

Celebrities like Diddy, Chris Brown, Teyana Taylor and SZA have reposted his videos over the past few years. K Michelle reposted one of her first videos in 2019, after YungBBQ lip synced her single, “Rain,” to one of those “hurricane-like dreary days,” as Feacher describes it. Feacher, a self-proclaimed “Disney kid” who recreates a lot of Disney Channel content from the mid-2000s, fangirled when the OMG Girlz recognized her recreation of one of their nostalgic pop songs.

And although Feacher has reached a global audience, most Tampa Bay fans are shocked to learn that she lives here.

“People never expect me to live in St. Pete because most content creators live in LA or Atlanta,” she says. And while she enjoys living in her hometown in her childhood home, she can see herself living in a big city one day. Feacher frequently travels to film different videos for brand partnerships, but still enjoys calling the Burg home, although she notes that “downtown is getting a bit crowded.”

Click to enlarge Feacher in front of the Dr. BBQ restaurant on Central Avenue.  - ADAM COLE BOEHM

Adam Cole Boehm

Feacher in front of the Dr. BBQ restaurant on Central Avenue.

Feacher tells CL that it was her childhood dream to one day open her own non-profit dance studio, a dream that doesn’t seem too out of reach these days. Although throughout her life she has always been encouraged to stick exclusively to dancing, she has a fierce desire to become as versatile as possible.

“I don’t want to have to call someone to shoot a video for me, or come in just to do my makeup,” YungBBQ says. “I want to learn to do pretty much everything myself so I don’t have to depend on others. I want to be trained enough to be able to get into a bunch of different styles of entertainment.

She notes that it’s common for internet stars to be stuck in a niche, giving their followers exactly what they expect. Feacher seeks to break that mold and is constantly evolving as a dancer, artist and influencer.

Along with her hugely popular Instagram and Facebook accounts, she is slowly starting to grow her “That’s So Lex” Youtube channel, as it’s a whole different outlet that doesn’t limit her to just one type of content. She dabbled in writing and directing comedy sketches and has just started editing her own videos in Adobe Premiere Pro.

And like kids do these days, YungBBQ also learns different content creation skills by watching Tik Tok tutorials. At 22 and less than three years into his career, things are only looking up for Alexis Feacher and his YungBBQ empire.

Among Tampa Bay’s younger generation of budding celebrities, locals will soon brag that YungBBQ represents their city.