BOOK REVIEW: Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist by Franchesa Ramsey

In 2011, Franchesca Ramsey had been making YouTube videos on her Chescaleigh channel for a few years. Some were about her hair and how to style locs. Others were comedic, including a parody song about student loans. But the one that went viral was a parody of a few popular videos from that year. “Sh*t White Girls Say… To Black Girls” (SWGSTBG) propelled Ramsey into the national spotlight in just a few hours after posting it and started her down a path of on and offline entertainment and activism.

Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist is Ramsey’s first book and in it, she writes about her journey leading up to the viral SWGSTBG video and the years after it. She writes with such vulnerability about the struggles and mistakes she’s faced while trying to break into the entertainment business while simultaneously being an activist in the public eye. There are many parts of the book that reflect on the many mistakes she’s made, how she dealt with some of the fall out, and how she learned from them all.

It can be hard to publicly acknowledge all our mistakes, let alone write an entire book deeply reflecting on them. In an age of ‘call-out culture’ and the internet’s tendency to ‘cancel people’, doing something like this can also have a detrimental impact on a person’s career, especially when that career primarily exists online. But in this book, Ramsey calls herself out with grace, transparency, and in such a way that as the reader, you learn to be a better person and activist alongside her.

Ramsey finds that middle ground by explaining what she had done, why it was a mistake, and the lessons she learned from the experiences. This book is perfect for all those who identify as ‘woke’ or fight for social justice, especially for people just starting their journey into the world of activism and wokeness. A large part of that is because Ramsey also breaks down complicated issues like microaggressions and offers an easy to understand glossary of social justice terms at the end.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cringe at embarrassing moments (and if you’re like me, you’ll know that feeling of making a mistake that Ramsey refers to all too well), and you’ll learn a whole lot about Ramsey and the world while reading Well, That Escalated Quickly!. You can buy it at many bookstores now, including Elliot Bay Book Company in Seattle, WA.

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