Accidental Activist’: How Franchesca Ramsey Transformed Her Viral Moment Into A Platform For Social Justice

By Ngozi Ekeledo
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Franchesca Ramsey’s new book, “Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist” is a collection of essays which serve as a humorous instruction manual on how to handle social media snafus.

Chicago Tribune

Franchesca Ramsey is very familiar with “internet trolls.”

The comedian, actress and writer used to “feed” her fair share of them following the viral success of her 2012 YouTube video “Sh(ASTERISK)t White Girls Say … to Black Girls” (which racked up over 12 million views and helped Ramsey land interviews with Anderson Cooper, NPR and BBC, among others).

With the video’s success, Ramsey went from a graphic design job at Ann Taylor to becoming a mouthpiece for the woke crowd as the host of MTV’s “Decoded” and a former writer for “The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore” on Comedy Central.

But Ramsey’s newly minted life in the public eye (especially on the internet) wasn’t without complications.

Her experience as an “online media presence” navigating a new frontier of social media activism inspired her new book, “Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist,” released May 22. The collection of essays serves as a humorous instruction manual on how to handle social media snafus and conversations in the current climate of online contention.

Ahead of her Chicago book-tour stop, the Chicago Tribune talked with the first-time author about her book and how she handles social media’s pitfalls.

The following conversation has been edited for space and clarity.

Q: What made you want to write this book?

A: We’re in a time, especially because of the internet, where conversations can really escalate in a way that feels impossible to resolve, and I’ve been on both sides of that. I felt like a book was a great place to really dive into that in a way that you just can’t dive into it on YouTube or on Twitter. I wanted to use the book as an opportunity to encourage people to be transparent about their mistakes, so that they can hopefully help other people do the same.

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