11 Questions You Probably Don’t Have About VSB’s Washington Post Profile But I’m Answering Anyway » VSB

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11 Questions You Probably Don’t Have About VSB’s Washington Post Profile But I’m Answering Anyway

Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post


Last week, The Washington Post ran an extensive profile of VSB. Below are answers to some questions you might have had about it.

Wait, what? The Washington Post ran a feature on VSB?


When did this happen???

Um, last week. Just like I said.

How come you all didn’t say anything about this?

I’m saying something about it right now.

Ok. So how did this come about?

Lavanya Ramanathan (the reporter who wrote the piece) first reached out to us about it in July. After a few weeks of trying to determine when would be the best time for her to interview us — she even suggested spending a day with me in Pittsburgh — we eventually agreed on September 22nd. I’d be in DC then for Luvvie’s book tour event. Panama and I met her at the Washington Post‘s building that afternoon for the photo shoot and some initial interview stuff. She also attended and observed the event that evening. Afterwards, we all went out for drinks and finished the interview.

So this was basically a day-long interview?

Yeah. And considering that I was just on stage for an hour for Luvvie’s event — and spent another hour or so taking pictures and shaking hands — I was on fumes by the end of the night. Each one of my answers felt like they oozed out, like a dishwasher leaking water on ceramic tile. Panama, on the other hand, has some sort of gravitational pull with energy. While mine was draining, his was gaining, so he was a much more engaging interview. (He’s also generally more engaging than I am.)

Overall, do you believe she captured you all well?

I’d say maybe 10% of the things we said/talked about actually made it into the interview, so she did a great job distilling the important parts down and creating a readable and accurate narrative.

Also, the piece has a great title. Whoever the HNICOT (head nigga in charge of titles) is at the WaPo did a bang up job.

You guys really get two million unique visitors a month?

On good months, yes.

So why do you all still have these off-brand Google ads all over the site? Shouldn’t you have, like, some sort of ad network or something?

Because we’re essentially a two man operation. (Actually more like one and three-fourths since Panama has a full time job.)

Oh, and we’re niggas, so there’s that.

So, you have a book deal now?

Yup. Agreed to a two book deal with Ecco (HarperCollins) last month. This was the first public announcement of the deal.

That’s exciting and shit! What will the books be about? Collections of VSB-type entries, maybe?

The second book is yet to be determined. The first book, however, is a memoir comprised of a collection of standalone but interconnected essays, and it will feature all new material. And writing that’s quite a bit more raw and naked (and scary as fuck for me) than what’s on VSB.

Awesome! Anything else you want to add?

In the last two weeks alone, we’ve had a 1600 word-long profile on us published in one of the world’s biggest platforms, I personally received an award for writing really absurd shit about grits, I was invited to a private screening of Fences in New York with Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, and like a dozen of my writing idols, Panama was invited to attend a private screening of the same movie at the NMAAHC this week (Denzel and Viola will also be there), and he received a phone call last week that literally trumps everything that has ever happened to either of us.

Now, I’m not saying this to brag. I’m saying it because its still fucking surreal. Especially when considering how we started. Of course, none of this could have been made possible without our amazing community here — plus our collective extended network of family, friends, and fans — and we’re beyond thankful of and humbled by that support.

Also, Panama and I have thought long and hard about VSB’s direction going forward. Of particular concern was how Trump’s election would affect us and our platform. We launched when Barack Obama was running for President. Our lifespan matches his term. And his prominence has had an undeniable spiritual and psychological effect on us and other spaces like ours. This considered, I couldn’t help but wonder if we’d be as relevant come 2017. But those anxieties eventually gave away to the truth. In a country that promises to be even less friendly to us in the coming years than it has been in the years before, VSB — and the community that both cultivates us and is cultivates by us — is perhaps even more vital now. We aint going anywhere, and I hope y’all aint either.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • HoobaStankyLeg

    See, this is what I like to hear! Congrats! Now let me go get caught up on last weeks articles.

  • mr. steal your costco samples

    for real this joint been my sanity for like a year and a half.

    • HoobaStankyLeg

      Amen? Amen.

  • MsCee

    You’re right, I didn’t have any of these questions but I’m glad you answered them anyway lol. Also, that interview was BOMB AF and I was extra proud. I’m pretty sure I said “nuggah we made it” in my head more than once

  • Wise Old Owl

    Proud of you both…Very Smart Brothas Doing Big Things! I don’t always agree with your analysis, see your bromance with LeBron, but I respect and admire your talent and grind…

  • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

    Yay, this is great and exciting!

  • Giantstepp

    Haven’t read the Washington Post piece yet ( I am out of free articles for the month) but it’s on my hit list in a couple days. Maybe I should just spring for a subscription? Anyway–I can’t remember when and how I stumbled across the site–but I am glad that I did, and it’s replaced a couple other sites I use to frequent. Congrats on all of the success and keep pushing forward. Peace.

    • LMNOP

      I think you can get a month for free. I know this because a few weeks ago my 10 year old came up to me holding her tablet to ask if I would get her a subscription to the Washington Post since her free month was up. She said “I just want to be informed.”

      • Nik White

        Love it!

      • JanuaryBabe

        LAWD!!!!! She’s going to keep you on your toes!!! Get her a subscription to The NY Times! I can’t live without that paper!!!!

    • Kas

      If you access the site via smartphone and clear history . . .

      • Blueberry01

        Come through, OG Kas with beating the system.

    • Aicha7

      You get six months for free if you have Amazon prime

  • TeeChantel

    This is so exciting. I’ve only been on here for 3 years (wow, time flies!) but I love y’all like family. There’s more greatness to come because you’re both the sh*t. Also, I have to add, you can’t trust a light skin brotha wearing a hat.

  • Mr. Mooggyy

    Read the article last week, but congrats to ya’ll both!

    This is the feeling we get when we get new posts on VSB…

    We ain’t going nowhere! We stickin together outchea!

  • Val

    It would have been really funny if the writer of the WAPO piece was aware of Damon’s Kappa humor and listed Damon as being a Kappa. Lol

    Also, Congratulations on all the good stuff happening to the two of you and sh !t.

  • Ari

    “We aint going anywhere, and I hope y’all aint either.”

    Congratulations to you both! I read the article last week and felt a great deal of pride and just a tinge of stinginess, like when your friends just discover indie artists you’ve known about for years.

    I also worry about your safety and continued freedom to express. I’m so glad you aren’t going anywhere, and I can’t wait to read the new writings you have in store. Looking forward to many more years to come.

    • MsCee

      “I read the article last week and felt a great deal of pride and just a tinge of stinginess, like when your friends just discover indie artists you’ve known about for years.” Yessssssss all of this. I literally went to FB and looked at VSB’s page to see if any of my friends like or follow their page. Don’t be acting like you we’re here shooting with us in the gym. Lol, petty.

      • Ari

        Petty lol

    • Cersei

      Nah. I’m a lawyer, and know too many lawyers who would be too happy to represent them in any f*cksh!t lawsuits. Gotta protect this space!

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