Luvvie Ajayi Offers Up Some ‘Act-Right’ in New Book ‘I'm Judging You’

In an era where social media stars come and go faster than a tweet, a Nigerian-born Chicagoan has become the real deal.

Luvvie Ajayi started blogging nearly 15 years ago, offering some strong views and opinions peppered with a lot of wit and humor. She now has an estimated half-million online followers between her Twitter, Instagram, Facebook accounts and her website, Awesomely Luvvie.

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Ajayi, a self-proclaimed “professional troublemaker,” has also published her first book, “I'm Judging You: The Do-Better Manual.” She joins us in conversation.

Below, an excerpt from the book.

Introduction: New Rules for a New World

One day, I was minding everyone’s business, scrolling through my Facebook news feed when I saw a picture of someone’s dead grandma being prepared for burial. I gasped and then immediately got mad.  Who does that? Why would you upload a snapshot of your deceased relative? What are you trying to prove? Because I’m pretty sure we didn’t need to see receipts showing that she really died. We believe you. You didn’t need any more people. Furthermore, why would you post a picture of her body before it’s casket-sharp? Her wig wasn’t even on yet. People are so disrespectful. I promise you this: if I die and someone posts a picture of my body before my lipstick is on and I’m looking amazing (for the state I’m in), I will haunt them for the rest of their  lives. Ghost Luvvie would be turning on random faucets in their houses in the middle of the night. Anytime they ate popcorn, I’d hide all the floss so they’d have to live with that stuff stuck between their teeth. I am super petty.

Anyway, at times like this, when someone obviously lacks sense, you ask yourself, “Did some of us not get a limited-edition handbook with instructions on how not to suck? Was there a boot camp on decency that some people simply missed the sign-up for?” Why are people terrible? In a world where we are more connected to each other than ever, with endless access to information at our fingertips, too many of us seem to have missed the message on how to behave. Babies and grandmothers alike have Instagram pages—I’ve seen a five-year- old’s Instagram, where he posted about naptime and coloring inside the lines. The Dalai Lama, the pope, and the president of the United States use Twitter to pass on messages to the masses. We are living in a new world, and there are now new rules. Information travels faster than ever, instantly exposing who is the emperor without clothes.

Clearly, we need a playbook, a guide to help people get a bit of common sense and some behavior as they navigate today’s hyper-obsessions with pop culture, social-media sharing, and outright navel-gazing.

So I dole out shade, side-eye, and basic-but-necessary advice for the needy—the logic- deficient who consistently come up short in this new world order of 140-character opinions, Face- book beefs, Instagram groupies, and pop-cultural idolization, i.e., the wasteland, where common sense has tragically become the rarest flower in the thought garden. All the shade that resides in my spirit, all the side-eye I’ve dispensed across my vast network, has led me here.

Excerpted from Luvvie Ajayi's I'm Judging You. Henry Holt and Company, 2016. 

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