Videographer’s free promo for Black-owned business goes viral

A TikToker’s impromptu promo shoot for a local BBQ joint went viral on TikTok, prompting overwhelming interest in the small, Black-owned business.

Jake Ceja, a 20-year-old budding videographer from Los Angeles, recently approached the owners of MC’s Que in Perris, Calif., and asked them if he could shoot a promo video for them, pro bono.

The owners agreed, and Ceja certainly didn’t disappoint them with the final product — a mouth-watering ad, featuring dramatic shots of the stand’s menu items, that has since racked up an astounding 4.8 million views, plus tons of comments expressing interest in visiting the food stand.

“This looks amazing and is only 30 minutes from me; definitely going to check it out,” one user wrote.

“I am literally salivating at this,” said another.

“That actually looks fire,” wrote a third.

Ceja, a Grand Canyon University student who became interested in videography as a junior in high school, told In The Know he taught himself the basics of videography on Youtube and then saved up money by working several odd jobs to purchase his very own camera equipment.

He said he was first inspired to explore TikTok as a means to share his art because of photographer Alex Stemplewski, who has become famous on the platform through his impromptu photoshoots with strangers.

Ceja began posting and experimenting with similar candid-style formats, eventually seeing success with a video he shot with a neighbor, one of his first viral hits that amassed over 271,000 views.

As Ceja continued creating content, the coronavirus pandemic gripped the world right as the videographer was approaching his senior year of college, leaving him feeling lost and searching for new opportunities and creative outlets.

Following the death of George Floyd and subsequent protests against police brutality toward Black people in the U.S., Ceja told In The Know he was compelled to find his own way to help lift up marginalized communities. With that mission in mind, he set his sights on elevating minority-owned businesses using his platform on TikTok.

And the results have been spectacular.

In July, Ceja shot a promo video with a fruit vendor that went viral to the tune of 3.2 million views. That same month, a mini-commercial he shot for a local taco stand got 4.4 million views (after a failed attempt to film a similar promo at Chipotle.) And then again, in August, he saw similar success with his MC’s Que’s video.

The best part? All of his guerrilla marketing for these small businesses has been done for free.

As the videographer continues on his path to prominence, Ceja says he would advise those looking to get their start either with videography or on TikTok to just jump in and create and avoid making excuses.

“People get caught up in the idea that we’re not that talented,” he told In The Know. “Even the most successful people don’t know what they’re doing. They’re confident and they’re learners.”

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