Blogging / Vlogging While Living, Loving, & Winning (Seriously), Part II

 

1)      I was introduced to your blog via YouTube a while ago, and your personality is so captivating. What made you want to start vlogging, and how has that experience been for you?

I’ve kept a diary of some sort since the 2nd grade. In middle school I built my first website and later began blogging on livejournal and used it all through college. I got an iMac with a built in camera when I graduated, so video blogging felt like a very natural transition for me. In the 4 years that I’ve been vlogging I’ve made countless friends around the world, hosted at the 2008 Emmys, made vlogging my part time job and most recently won $35k to produce my own web show. My video blogging career has been pretty awesome thus far. YouTube and my viewers/friends have been very good to me!

2)      You’re involved in an interracial relationship, and currently reside in New York with your boyfriend. Have you always dated interracially? Was that a readily option for you where you grew up?

I didn’t date in high school but when I got to college I casually dated guys from many different backgrounds. I don’t have a “preference” when it comes to dating. Race isn’t a factor for me.  But I never had a serious relationship or had been someone’s “girlfriend” until I began dating Patrick  in 2006.  We went to a very progressive performing arts middle and high school in south Florida. Our school was extremely diverse and accepting. There was also a very strong gay community at our school (partially to blame for my lack of dating) so interracial relationships weren’t seen as a big deal at all.

3)      You and your boyfriend make a really cute couple. How did the two of you meet, and how long have you been together?
We actually went to high school together but didn’t date. I didn’t really know him but we did have a few friends in common. After we both graduated, he in 2000 and myself in 2002, we ran into each other at a friend’s Thanksgiving party and started dating January 2004. That makes 5 years!

4)      Blogging and vlogging opens you up to just about anyone / everyone.  Have you ever received negativity from others whenever you’ve blogged and/or vlogged about your relationship?

Unfortunately yes. The Internet is the perfect place to express yourself, especially when you’re a coward, so people will have always had something to say. We made a vlog together for our 2nd anniversary and the comments turned into a nightmare. People were making death threats, slinging racial slurs and making ridiculous and disgusting assumptions about us and our relationship. At the time it was really upsetting to me and I was very hurt and confused. Initially I tried to reason with people but soon found it was impossible.

Since then other videos featuring Pat have gotten nasty comments as well and recently someone found him on Facebook and started harassing him. It’s really nutty. So I’ve taken down videos with him in it and I no longer talk about my relationship as openly online. Partly because Pat is in law school and the last thing he needs is for employers to see racist garbage if they Google him. I also took the videos down because I’m not interested in what anyone else thinks about my relationship. No one needs to comment. At the end of the day, I’m very happy and anonymous people on the Internet don’t have any control over how I live my life.

5)      I really enjoy how diverse your subjects are (i.e. hair, fashion, life), and I really enjoy your comical videos. Is there one particular subject that you enjoy the most? Has there ever been a blog posting or video that was “controversial?”

I really love making people laugh and I try to bring my personality and sense of humor into all of my videos, no matter what the topic. I made a video response to a video by a YouTuber named “Sargent Willie Pete” when I first started vlogging that got a lot of attention. He was a total chauvinist and made a video about the lack of intelligent black women worth dating. I made him a response suggesting he stop looking “in da club” and go where educated women hang out like coffee shops, book clubs, gyms etc. My main point was that the drunk women at the club probably aren’t looking for serious boyfriends and it’s difficult to get to know someone in that environment. Wille Pete’s leigons of deranged fans went off on me claiming that I was a “self hating bitch” that didn’t know anything about black men, citing Pat as proof. I got a lot of vitriol, but I also got a lot of fans because of that video. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the controversy helped me get subscribers and I also taught me a lot about dealing with online negativity as a result.

6)      Your locs are beautiful! Having natural hair already brings a negative stigma at times, and when you date interracially while having natural hair, I find that there is a double negative stigma placed on you when you’re a black woman. Have you ever felt that way, and if so, how did you deal with it?

Honestly, the Internet is the only place that anyone has harshly criticized my hair “to my face”. Some of my family members teased me when I first went natural, but my hair has never prevented me from getting a job or interfered with my life in a negative way. When it comes to online criticism about my hair, it’s usually from racists that assume my hair is dirty, idiots who believe “nappy” is an insult and religious extremists that believe I shouldn’t wear locs because I’m not Rastafarian.

7)      Recently, you won the YouTube Nextup contest (Congratulations). Are there any professional and personal goals that you’re currently working on?

I’m investing the money into new a new camera, computers and the latest editing equipment. My best friend and I wrote an online sitcom together and I plan to begin shooting as soon as possible. I’m also launching a new website and will continue to work as a freelance designer.

*Note Bene: More with Franchesca Ramsey can be found on her sites http://franchesca.net, http://youtube.com/chescaleigh, http://youtube.com/chescalocs

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8 thoughts on “Blogging / Vlogging While Living, Loving, & Winning (Seriously), Part II

  1. Franchesca is gorgeous and seems so interesting. I love all these features of happy, bright, and beautiful black women.

    And, oh, I just now realized she is the famous “Chescaleigh”. I watched a video of hers on another blog some time back and I thought “She’s amazing!”. So obviously my mind hasn’t changed. :)

  2. Fran, this was an emotional roller-coaster for me. Knowing you & loving you, I cannot stand to hear about people being awful to you & Pat.
    However, it made me very to happy to read about how you handle it, and the perspective you’re able to keep.
    Excellent interview!

  3. That’s rather interesting. My own life is such that I have a rather hard time believing ‘real racists’ exist in America these days; by that, I don’t mean ‘Bill Cosby’ so-called racists, who speak to many African-American communities about their sociological problems truthfully; I would say that to call these people racist is to play to the demagogues of black politics. I mean real ‘black people are inferior’ and ‘black hair is ugly’ and ‘interracial relationships are wrong’ type racists.

    It is actually disturbing to hear they still exist.

  4. @Ben: Racism in America didn’t die with the end of the civil rights movement in the 60s. It will take many generations for centuries of prejudice, condescension and hatred to disappear…forty or fifty years won’t cut it.

    My attitude to dating is rather similar to Franchesca’s, so I’ve have had to deal with any number of stares, nasty comments, etc. just walking down the street with people I’ve dated, even in fairly enlightened areas like San Diego’s University Heights/Hillcrest area or Hollywood Blvd in LA. My last boyfriend also had prematurely gray hair, which only increased the hateration from onlookers.

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