Hosted by Nate Boyer, ‘Survive the Raft’ is a reality series that assembles a diverse group of strangers from contrasting backgrounds, and sets them up to endure 21 days together on a raft. Throughout this period, they engage in various challenges, aiming to earn money for the entire team. The accumulated funds are equally distributed among the contestants after the game. Drawing inspiration from the 1973 Acali Experiment, the series features eliminations, new entrants, and challenges that push players beyond their physical limits. Russel Ellis emerged as a winner of the inaugural iteration. His confidence and resilience earned him a lot of fans, who must be curious about his current whereabouts.
Russell Ellis’ Experience in the Military Helped Him on the Show
Russell Ellis, a native of Stafford, Virginia, participated in the first season of the series. Growing up in the mountains of North Carolina, Russell acquired navigation skills in challenging terrains from a young age. His military service spanning 13 years further honed his ability to handle and navigate through less-than-optimal circumstances. Russell believed that the skills he had cultivated over the years would make him a valuable addition to the team.
Many contestants on the season initially assumed, based on Russell’s physical appearance, that he was a conservative and racist individual. However, to their surprise, Russell revealed that he was a civil rights activist. He explained that he had grown up in an environment with openly racist and problematic parents and family. Russell revealed that his parents divorced when he was only 3 years old, and his mother later remarried a Black man. This decision sparked negative reactions from his father and his extended family. It was through connecting with his step-siblings and finding a sense of family with them that Russell began to question and challenge his own racist beliefs.
Russell admitted that he had once shared many of their opinions, but in his 20s, he started educating himself to overcome these biases. He continued to actively challenge and debunk his prejudices against other ideas and communities through dedicated effort. Over the course of his time on the season, Russell maintained an honest and genuine approach to the game. He recognized his ability to communicate effectively with people and strategically used this skill to sway opinions in his favor or redirect them away from considering him for elimination.
In the fourth episode, Russell faced a hand injury during a challenge, leading some contestants to contemplate eliminating him. However, he adeptly handled the situation to avoid the risk. Toward the end, Russell’s authoritative demeanor led some to label him a hypocrite, but he ultimately emerged as a winner, sharing the $223,000 prize with the rest of the victorious contestants.
Where is Russell Ellis Now?
Russell Ellis continues to actively engage in civil rights activism, advocating for change and breaking the cycle of acceptable white behavior. With a substantial following of approximately 4.8 million on TikTok and around 267k on Instagram, he utilizes social media to share his perspectives and insights. Recognized for his efforts, Russell appeared on the YouTube channel Change the Narrative with JD Fuller, addressing crucial topics. Additionally, he had the opportunity to participate in a TEDx Talk at TEDx Suny Geneseo, delivering a speech titled ‘White Supremacy: Same Dog, Same Tricks – Time to Change the Training.’
Russell’s influence extends to YouTube, where he manages a channel named Jolly, The Tea Guy. Through this platform and across his various social media channels, he addresses everyday instances of racism, injustice, and violence. Russell actively promotes donations and fundraising for causes related to these issues. In addition to his advocacy work, Russell has established the brand Jolly Good Ginger” which sells tea and T-shirts. The brand has gained significant popularity, with its products frequently going out of stock due to high demand.
Russell, the father of five children, has deliberately maintained privacy regarding his personal and family life. Serving as the CEO of #NoSafeSpacesForRacists, the Virginia resident addressed accusations of being labeled a “White Savior” by clarifying that he speaks not on behalf of the Black community but to the white community, urging them to alter their behavior and mindset. Russell’s consistent alignment of actions with his words reflects his commitment to instigating change, one step at a time.