Charis welcomes Jill Louise Busby in conversation with Chloe Caldwell for a celebration of Unfollow Me: Essays on Complicity. An intimate, impertinent, and incisive collection about race, progress, and hypocrisy from Jill Louise Busby, aka Jillisblack.
Jill Louise Busby spent years in the nonprofit sector specializing in Diversity & Inclusion. She spoke at academic institutions, businesses, and detention centers on the topics of Race, Power, and Privilege and delivered over two-hundred workshops to nonprofit organizations all over the California Bay Area.
In 2016, fed up with what passed as progressive in the Pacific Northwest, Busby uploaded a one-minute video about race, white institutions, and faux liberalism to Instagram. The video received millions of views across social platforms. As her pithy persona Jillisblack became an "it-voice" weighing in on all things race-based, Jill began to notice parallels between her performance of "diversity" in the white corporate world and her performance of "wokeness" for her followers. Both, she realized, were scripted.
Unfollow Me is a memoir-in-essays about these scripts; it's about tokenism, micro-fame, and inhabiting spaces-real and virtual, black and white-where complicity is the price of entry. Busby's social commentary manages to be both wryly funny and achingly open-hearted as she recounts her shape-shifting moves among the subtle hierarchies of progressive communities. Unfollow Me is a sharply personal and self-questioning critique of white fragility (and other words for racism), respectability politics (and other words for shame), and all the places where fear masquerades as progress.
Jill Louise Busby had worked for years in the nonprofit sector with a focus on diversity and inclusion when she uploaded a short but scathing attack on liberal progressivism and the corporate nonprofit machine. The video went viral and made her a sought-after speaker of indulgently honest opinions. She continues to use social media, writing, and film to expose contradictions, challenge performative authenticity, and campaign for accountability. She lives in Olympia, WA.
CHLOE CALDWELL is the author of three books: the essay collection I’ll Tell You in Person, the critically acclaimed novella, WOMEN, and Legs Get Led Astray. Her memoir, The Red Zone: A Love Story will publish April 2022 from Soft Skull. Chloe’s essays have appeared in The New York Times, Bon Appétit, Buzzfeed, New York Magazine, Longreads, Vice, Nylon, Salon.com, Lenny Letter,The Rumpus, Catapult, Hobart, The Sun, and half a dozen anthologies. She lives in Hudson, N.Y.
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An intimate, impertinent, and incisive collection about race, progress, and hypocrisy from Jill Louise Busby, aka Jillisblack.
A searching, galvanizing memoir about blood and love: how learning more about her period, PMS, PMDD, and the effects of hormones on moods transformed her relationships—to a new partner, to family, to non-blood kin, and to her own body—from the beloved essayist and author of Women