Franchesca Ramsey went viral in 2012. Her video Stuff White Girls Say to Black Girls (I addd a euphemism with Stuff) took off like a rocket ship. She was an early adopter of YouTube and created regular videos, but that one video really took off like wildfire online and offline. Imagine if your video was picked up by MSNBC, Mtv, the BBC overnight. That’s what happened, and even Anderson Cooper, who had a network show at the time, came knocking at her door for an interview.
Franchesca hoped that “Stuff White Girls Say to Black Girls” would get around 100,000 YouTube views. She had been making Youtube videos for 6 years as a fun hobby and used the extra money to buy clothes her pay her cell phone bill. But instead, she had her lightening in the bottle moment. The video had 1 million views in one day, and 6 million views in a week.
The video featured the African-American Franchesca in a blonde wig, saying cliched lines that Franchesca had hear throughout her life. Her character said things like: “That’s so ghetto.” “Not to sound racist, but…” Can I touch your hair?” and “Well, can you say the N-word but if I say it its racist?” It was a fine blend of pop culture commentary and comedy, to make people both laugh and think.
After the amazing popularity of her video, Franchesca quit her 9-5 day-job as a graphic designer after her career opportunities in entertainment exploded. She got an agent, worked on a TV pilot, went on a college speaking tour, had a potential book deal and had some amazing new career opportunities. Doors were opening for her left and right. But she wasn’t necessarily prepared for the success. She wasn’t able to completely harness the moment. Why? Back in 2012 there was no playbook for what do with your career after a viral moment. No one knew that YouTube explode like it has for online video vloggers and comedians. Now she is a great example of the influencer economy because she put in the work to become successful. She wasn’t solely focused on fame and money, like many people are in the digital age.
We all have choices about what to do in our life, and we have a decision to make. When people start gaining success, they need to ask two questions: 1) Am I going to put in the work to make my career take-off? 2) Or will I not? Franchesca took the former approach and she now thrives. She works as a writer and contributor for The Nightly Show with Larry Willmore on Comedy Central. Before that, she hit a lot of bumps on the way.
If you ask what Franchesca Ramsey does for a living, like many in the influencer economy, she wears many hats. She is an actress, comedian, activist, YouTube creators and writer/contributor to The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore. Her YouTube videos often take important subjects that are difficult to talk about, and she finds creative ways to address these subjects through humor. She also studies Facebook trends, hashtags and listens to her audience in order to learn more about their perspective. Sometimes making a 2-3 minute video can take over 6 hours of work, in shooting and editing the content. Franchesca really puts in the hard work that so many often don’t when looking for careers online. She dedicates herself to her craft.
Listen to the Stories From The Influencer Economy archives with entrepreneurs like Brad Feld, Troy Carter and Burnie Burns of Rooter Teeth at our Influencer Economy website: http://www.influencereconomy.com/
Early on in life Franchesca a teacher of hers asked her what she wanted to be known for later in life. The teacher asked her to list three characteristics, and Franchesca wrote down she wanted to be known as 1) honest 2) smart 3) funny. Funny enough when she was hired by Larry Willlmore and his team on The Nightly Show, they brought on board for those traits.
In the end Franchesca, after all that viral heat, told me: “I ended up where I needed to be.” “I’m exactly where I am supposed to be.”
Franchesca Ramsey’s website and other links:
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Last week’s episode on Depression with Rand Fishkin is here.