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Hey it’s Marie Forleo and you’re watching MarieTV, the place to be to create a business and a life you love. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to navigate topics like race, identity and activism online — my guest today has some valuable lessons to share.
Franchesca Ramsey is a social justice advocate, comedian, actress, writer, video blogger, and sought-after speaker with over 38 million views on YouTube and over half a million followers across social media. Her work has been featured on MTV, The NY Times and The BBC. A former writer and correspondent for The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, Franchesca’s the host of the award-winning MTV web series Decoded and co-host of the podcast Last Name Basis. Her docuseries Franchesca recently premiered at Sundance and her first book, Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist is available now.
Franchesca, welcome back! As I gushed to you over text, your book is EXTRAORDINARY. It should be required reading for anyone who CREATES anything online. It’s SO real and SO painfully honest and transparent and hilariously funny.
- I want to mention a line I highlighted and TABBED up. You wrote, “As the conversation about social justice broadens, I wish we could be more understanding of those coming to it later than others. It can be really scary to admit that there are a lot of things you don’t know. We live in a world where people are quick to pounce on you if you express confusion, or ask a question.”
That’s why this book and your body of work is SO incredibly helpful. The way you teach through humor and pop culture creates a real opening for people to let go of fear and defensiveness so they can learn and connect. Tell me why you wanted to write this book, NOW?
- You wanted to show that mistakes are inevitable
- Idea of paying it forward –
- In our first interview, we talked a little bit about your viral video, Sh*t White Girls Say. But we didn’t really talk about what happened AFTER. You wrote: I was being ripped to shreds because I didn’t know how to respond to being ripped to shreds.
Meaning the avalanche of hate, from what felt like EVERYONE started coming your way.
- What did you learn from that experience and how did it shape your work moving forward?
- Let’s talk about you being on the OTHER side of the hate. You wrote: “If you participate in the shit-slinging contest, competing to come up with the most creative insult, you end up covered in shit.” (pg. 115)
How did you become a hater yourself and what did that look like in terms of what you said or shared?
- Hating Lena Dunham – easy to criticize someone you don’t know/won’t meet, but you met her
- Stop Hating, Start Studying…
- Jill Soloway
- I also found the distinction you made between Call-Outs and Call-Ins fascinating — what do both of those terms mean and when are they appropriate?
You share some questions to ask before calling any anyone out. Please share them with us all!
- CALL OUT Rules (pg. 60-61)
- What’s the issue?
- What’s at stake?
- Do I have all the details?
- Why am I doing this?
- What are the best- and worst-case scenarios that could follow?
- Would it be better to call-in instead?
Another highlighted section: I sometimes wonder how much further along in my career I’d be if I hadn’t dedicated so much time and energy to these people. You shared, This is also why I’ve pulled back from social media lately: not only has it made a huge difference for your productivity but also allowed you to reframe your goals and priorities. Tell me about how YOU deal with haters and troll these days.
- Maintaining a productive, rewarding relationship with fans doesn’t require social media addiction – it means doing good work that people respond to.
- Trolls are out to get you and distract you.
Let’s talk about the Self Care is Not Selling Out (Unless It Is) Chapter. You shared, “It’s always strange to me when people start dictating what you must or must not do to be a good black person a good feminist, or a good advocate. Do I have to keep a tally of my activist points to prove I’ve earned a moment of rest?
I also love the quote you shared from Audre Lorde who wrote “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”
Let’s talk about compassion fatigue. Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean that you’re NOT also doing the important work that advances the causes that are important to you:
You wrote, “Sometimes it feels like no matter how hard I try, I can’t say anything without offending someone. And since I’m a person who loves to run her mouth, that can be pretty difficult.”
- You’ve got a section called Activist Lent AND Franchesca’s Simple Explanations of Not-So-Simple Concepts
- Let’s get tactical: you said the key is to “avoid being defensive, listen to what people are telling you, and work to do better.”
- I also want to address some the CRINGE-WORTHY comments we need to say goodbye to that you shared in chapter 12
- When someone is describing their experience as a person of color and someone says, “Well – I don’t see color.” Can you please share a bit about why this comment must be laid to rest?
- Also, “All Lives Matter”
- Your comeback had me in tears and I need to read it. “It’s OK for a movement to be focused on a specific group or cause. Save the rainforest doesn’t mean fuck all the other trees.”
- This one I took note of, when you said although you’ve used it yourself — you now cringe at the phrase “Check your privilege.” Why?
- Sometimes you’re a caterpillar video?
You said: I can’t know it all, my voice can’t always be the loudest. Can we talk about how you’ve continued to be a student, to educate yourself, to listen as well as talk?
Let’s also cover how important it is to OWN OUR MISTAKES and the two parts to a simple apology:
- Part 1: Taking responsibility for what you’ve done.
- Part 2: Committing to change
Thank you SO VERY MUCH for this book, the work you do and for being you.
Now Franchesca and I would love to hear from you. What’s the biggest takeaway for you from this conversation and how can you turn that insight into action right now? As always, the BEST conversations happen at MarieForleo.com so go there and leave a comment now.
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Stay on your game and keeping going for your dreams. Because the world needs that special gift that only YOU have. Thanks for watching and I’ll catch you next time on MarieTV!