Franch­esca Ram­sey, live and in color

South Florida Times - - FRONT PAGE - Staff Re­port

MIAMI - Franch­esca Ram­sey has built a ca­reer that be­gan more than a cou­ple of decades ago when, while in high school, she started her own blog be­fore blog­ging was pop­u­lar. She scanned pho­tos and up­loaded them to her site in what ap­pears to have been the foun­da­tion to pro­pel her into her cur­rent life as a co­me­dian, writer, ac­tress and “ac­ci­den­tal ac­tivist.”

She has com­bined her “sharp, funny, and timely col­lec­tion of per­sonal es­says (that explore) race, iden­tity, on­line ac­tivism, and the down­fall of real com­mu­ni­ca­tion in the age of so­cial me­dia rants, trolls, and call-out wars,” into her first book, “Well, That Es­ca­lated Quickly: Me­moirs and Mis­takes of an Ac­ci­den­tal Ac­tivist.”

The 34-year old New Yorker who grew up in West Palm Beach will be in South Florida to pro­mote the new book. Michelle Vil­lalo­bos, a per­sonal brand strate­gist, a pro­fes­sional speaker, cor­po­rate trainer and founder of The Women's Suc­cess Sum­mit, will in­ter­view Ram­sey about her new book and her jour­ney to writ­ing it on May 24 at 7:30 pm at Coral Gables Con­gre­ga­tional Church.

Ram­sey, 34, got her start on YouTube, and her big break came in 2012, with her video “Sh_t White Girls Say … To Black Girls.” In the par­ody, Ram­sey wears a long, plat­inum blonde wig, and, in scene af­ter scene, her char­ac­ter says things like, “Is it, like, bad to do black­face?” The video made her an on­line celebrity, pro­vid­ing a huge plat­form for her po­lit­i­cally cor­rect, iden­tity fo­cused com­edy skits and commentary.

A 2015 deal with MTV al­lowed her to cre­ate and host the web show “De­coded,” now in its sixth sea­son, where she cre­ates sim­i­lar videos ad­dress­ing even more issues (xeno­pho­bia, clas­sism and men­tal health stigma) for a broader au­di­ence. In an episode of “De­coded,” she plays an in­struc­tor at a “race am­bas­sador” train­ing and cheer­fully promis­ing to teach the group of peo­ple of color to nav­i­gate the “brand new, awe­some re­spon­si­bil­ity” of rep­re­sent­ing an en­tire cul­ture in their of­fice or neigh­bor­hood.

For “Well, That Es­ca­lated Quickly…,” she uses her own ex­pe­ri­ences as an “ac­ci­den­tal ac­tivist” to explore the many ways peo­ple com­mu­ni­cate with each other–from the highs of bridg­ing gaps and mak­ing con­nec­tions to the chal­lenges that come with talk­ing about race, power, sex­u­al­ity, and gen­der in an un­pre­dictable pub­lic space… the in­ter­net.

Ram­sey has been fea­tured on NPR, An­der­son Cooper, CNN, MTV, the BBC, and in the New York Times. A for­mer writer and cor­re­spon­dent for The Nightly Show with Larry Wil­more, she now has a ma­jor late-night tele­vi­sion show in de­vel­op­ment with Com­edy Cen­tral.

PHO­TOS COUR­TESY OF BOOKS AND BOOKS

Michelle Vil­lalo­bos will in­ter­view Franch­esca Ram­sey about her new book on May 24.

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