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Franchesca Ramsey

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Franchesca Ramsey
Franchesca Ramsey head.jpg
Ramsey in January 2017
Born
Franchesca Leigh Ramsey

(1983-11-29) November 29, 1983 (age 35)
Alma materMiami International University of Art & Design
Occupation
  • Graphic designer
  • actress
  • writer
  • comedian
Years active2010–present
Websitefranchesca.net

Franchesca Ramsey (born November 29, 1983), also known as Chescaleigh, is an American comedian, activist, television and YouTube personality, and actress, who has appeared on MTV and MSNBC.[1][2][3][4][5] She gained media fame quickly after her YouTube commentary on racial issues went viral, and she built a career as a writer, producer, and performer based on her unintended activism, being thrust into a role as an advisor or coach on social issues.[6][7]

Early life and education[edit]

Ramsey was born (1983-11-29)November 29, 1983. She is an only child who grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida. She was using computers early, having a website in high school during the 1990s.[7] She attended a performing arts high school, and studied graphic design in college, after trying acting but finding it emotionally painful, and even "abusive".[7] She moved to New York City in 2009 to study law on a scholarship to St. John's University.[7]

Career[edit]

YouTube[edit]

Ramsey had been working in graphic design at Ann Taylor when her 2012 YouTube video "Shit White Girls Say...to Black Girls" went viral and led to interviews on the BBC, Anderson Cooper and NPR.[6][8] Ramsey's YouTube channel contains topical and socially conscious comedy sketches and song parodies among other videos.[9] Her chescalocs channel is about natural hair.[1] In 2008, Ramsey won the People/YouTube Red Carpet Reporter contest, which greatly increased her channel's popularity.[10] In 2015, Ramsey became the host of the MTV web series Decoded where she discusses racism and cultural issues.[11] Several of Ramsey's videos have appeared on MTV, The Huffington Post, CollegeHumor, Jezebel, and Glamour Magazine.[12][13][14][15][16] In 2017, the show won a Webby Award in the Public Service and Activism category.[17]

Online harassment[edit]

Ramsey has been a target of online harassment, trolling and doxing.[18][19] According to writer Ijeoma Oluo, Ramsey is one of a group of African-American women who "face regular, coordinated campaigns of abuse aimed at forcing them off of the internet."[20]

After winning the People/YouTube Red Carpet Reporter contest in 2008, Ramsey became the target of racist harassment, beginning with a comment thread stalker posting racial epithets. That person then started sending harassing emails to Ramsey's work email address, and then making malware attacks on her employer's email server. The stalker then began posting personal details meant to imply that he was physically tracking and watching her.[19]

Ramsey said she had a good relationship with YouTube personnel in attempting to prevent the harassment, and was selected to participate in a survey of YouTube creators about changes they would like. She said she wanted the ability to block users by IP address, and limit comments to channel subscribers. YouTube did not respond, and the harassment continued. Ramsey discussed minorities being targets of harassment in a 2013 SXSW panel, in which she said she tries to ignore trolls, or hold them up for ridicule, to laugh them off.[21]

Ramsey was one of five YouTubers to receive a US$25,000 grant from John Green's Creators for Change project, to "amplify the voices of people who are not traditionally heard".[22] Green's goal is to help those in a position to speak out and build online communities opposed to hate speech, xenophobia and harassment.[22]

Ramsey says her long experience online has helped her ignore online harassment.[23] She said that she has not hesitated to speak on issues, but has learned to avoid mention of YouTubers by name, speaking in "generalities" instead, knowing that angering a fan base will bring "100,000 twitter messages from children" calling her racial epithets or targeting her husband, or harassing her at work.[23] She advises girls to choose their battles when confronted with harassment or open prejudice, and to find ways to educate individuals in a work environment, and that it gets easier with practice.[23]

Television[edit]

In early 2016, Ramsey joined Comedy Central's The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore as a contributor and writer.[24][25][26][27]

Ramsey has also appeared in television series such as Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell[28][29] and Broad City.[27][30]

In April 2017, Comedy Central announced that they were developing a late-night comedy pilot to star and be executive produced by Ramsey.[31]

Podcast[edit]

Ramsey hosts a podcast with her husband Patrick called Last Name Basis where the couple talk about their lives and the world around them.[32]

Book[edit]

Ramsey's 2018 book Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist Hardcover is a collection of essays that describes her unintended role as an activist on racism and online harassment after the sudden media attention to her YouTube commentary.[6] She says the book is intended to help others navigate online world, including her own mistakes.[6] She admits falling into 'troll behavior' herself, and writes about why she and others have sometimes used destructive behavior online to deal with offline personal pressures and disappointments.[6] She she offers strategies for surviving online abuse, encouraging logging off for a time, and regrets engaging rather than ignoring online harassers.[7]

Works[edit]

  • Ramsey, Franchesca (May 22, 2018), Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist, Grand Central Publishing, ISBN 978-1538761038

Personal life[edit]

Ramsey is married to Patrick Kondas.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Franchesca Ramsey Uses Humor to Begin Critical Dialogues on Race for MTV's 'Decoded'". The Culture. September 17, 2015. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  2. ^ Cohen, Noam (December 4, 2014). "Grand Jury Decision Leads to Twitter Confessions of 'Criming While White'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  3. ^ White, Daniel. "Meet the YouTube Stars Who Asked Questions at the Democratic Debate". TIME.com. Retrieved 2016-01-22.
  4. ^ Dandy, Brittany (June 23, 2015). "Franchesca Ramsey to Host MTV's 'Decoded'". Black Enterprise. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  5. ^ "Franchesca Ramsey on #BlackLivesMatter". MSNBC. September 4, 2015. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c d e Ekeledo, Ngozi, "'Accidental activist': How Franchesca Ramsey transformed her viral moment into a platform for social justice", Chicago Tribune
  7. ^ a b c d e f de León, Concepción (May 10, 2018), "Why Franchesca Ramsey Is Done Feeding the Trolls", The New York Times
  8. ^ Shit White Girls Say...to Black Girls on YouTube
  9. ^ Soep, Elisabeth (January 24, 2014), Participatory Politics: Next-Generation Tactics to Remake Public Spheres, MIT Press
  10. ^ YouTube (August 27, 2008), YouTube and PEOPLE.com Announce Winner of Nationwide Red Carpet Reporter Audition (press release), Marketwire
  11. ^ Dandy, Brittany (June 23, 2015). "Franchesca Ramsey to Host MTV's 'Decoded'". Black Enterprise. Retrieved March 19, 2016.
  12. ^ "A Parody of Beyonce's 'Countdown' Music Vid We Can All Relate To". MTV. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  13. ^ Luippold, Ross (October 14, 2013). "'Don't Tweet' Brings No Doubt Classic to the Twitter Age". Huffington Post. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  14. ^ "Turn Your Phone! "No Scrubs" Anti-Portrait Parody". College Humor. June 28, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  15. ^ Beck, Laura (June 28, 2013). "What's Your Lipstick Story?". Jezebel. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  16. ^ "You Guys, I Just Love This Lipstick Story". Glamour Magazine. August 1, 2013. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  17. ^ "2017 Online Film & Video Public Service & Activism (Channels and Networks)". www.webbyawards.com. Webby Awards. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  18. ^ Cueto, Emma (March 31, 2015), "'So You've Been Publicly Shamed' by Jon Ronson Delves Into "Internet Shaming," But Here Are 6 Women Who Would Write Smart Books About Online Hate", Bustle
  19. ^ a b Hoffberger, Chase (March 6, 2013), "Escaping the trolls: Franchesca Ramsey's 4-year YouTube struggle", The Daily Dot
  20. ^ Oluo, Ijeoma (July 19, 2016), "Leslie Jones' Twitter abuse is a deliberate campaign of hate", The Guardian
  21. ^ Gross, Doug (March 14, 2013), "'Don't feed the trolls': Racism on YouTube", CNN
  22. ^ a b Hamedy, Saba (December 13, 2016), "John Green hopes to 'amplify the voices of people who are not traditionally heard' through YouTube", Mashable
  23. ^ a b c Garrett, Camryn (February 1, 2016), "Franchesca Ramsey Discusses Trolls, Black History Month, and Courage", Huffington Post
  24. ^ Obenson, Tambay A. "'The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore' Taps Franchesca Ramsey as Newest Contributor and writer". Shadow and Act. Retrieved 2016-02-09.
  25. ^ Wright, Megh (2016-02-01). "Franchesca Ramsey joins 'The Nightly Show' as a writer and contributor". Split Sider. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  26. ^ Surrey, Miles (2016-08-23). "'The Nightly Show' star Franchesca Ramsey talks cancellation and comedy in 2016". Mic. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  27. ^ a b Epstein, Michael (2016-02-01). "Comedian and actress Franchesca Ramsey is the newest addition to 'The Nightly Show'". Flavor Wire. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  28. ^ "'Cock block the vote' PSA discourages men from voting on 'Totally Biased'". Huffington Post. 2012-11-02. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  29. ^ "W. Kamau Bell". The Frisky. 2012-11-04. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  30. ^ Gutelle, Sam (2016-02-04). "YouTube personality Franchesca Ramsey joins Comedy Central's 'The Nightly Show'". Tube Filter. Retrieved 2016-11-05.
  31. ^ Duster, Chandelis R. "Franchesca Ramsey Heads to Comedy Central With New Pilot". www.nbcnews.com. NBC. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  32. ^ "Last Name Basis". Retrieved March 16, 2016.

External links[edit]