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A Guide To Reading VSB For People Who Just Now Discovered VSB



Hello, person who just recently discovered VSB.

My name is Damon Young, and I’m the editor-in-chief and co-founder of VSB. That’s me in the picture with the sunglasses and the egghead. The fashionable fella to my right is Panama Jackson, senior editor and also a co-founder.

Here’s another picture of a much, much, much, much-less-drunk us. (And yes, I only own one shirt.)

vsb harvard

(Our third co-founder, Liz Burr, is no longer with us. She’s not dead or anything. She’s just doing other big things.)

In the last week, we’ve had two separate pieces create a lot of new traffic for us. One (“The 10 Worst Drinks Black People Ever Thought It Was Cool To Drink“) written by yours truly and published last Friday, destroyed all of our previous traffic records, crashed VSB, and actually forced us to buy more server space. Another (“10 Non-Singing Ass Singers That People Swear Can Sing“) written by Panama and published yesterday, destroyed all of our previous traffic records, crashed VSB, and actually forced us to buy more server space…again. (We’ve made the people at the server space store very happy this week.)

Anyway, this new traffic has brought a bunch of new eyes with it. Some of whom seem to be unaware of or just plain confused by what exactly VSB is. Allow me to clear some of that up.

1. VSB started out as a blog featuring Panama and I’s tongue-in-cheek observations about dating, relationships, and sex. As the site grew in popularity, we expanded our content, tackling race, pop culture, and whatever the hell else we felt like talking about. As it continued to grow, we put less emphasis on the “dating/relationship” stuff and more on the “whatever the hell else we felt like talking about” stuff. A book ensued, as well as a TV pilot based off of that book. (Did the pilot get picked up? Well, we’re still here, so that’s your answer.)

A year ago, a grant allowed us to redesign and expand the site. Since then, 34 different people have published content on VSB, and we recently put out a call for even more. 

2. VSB is not a collective voice. It’s a collection of voices. This might seem like a minor distinction, but it matters because assuming it’s a collective voice assigns credit to people who don’t deserve it and takes it away from those who do.

For instance, when Panama’s post was being shared yesterday, I read dozens of comments saying “VSB said…” or “The list VSB wrote is perfect…” or “VSB obviously must hate puppies too.” Thing is, VSB didn’t not write that post. Panama did. Yes, it was published on VSB, but it was thought of and written by Panama Jackson. I (Damon) had nothing to do with it.

Again, there’s no official VSB stance on things. Everything published here is written from a “this is how this particular individual feels about this subject” perspective instead of from a “this is how VSB collectively feels” perspective.

3. One thing we do all have in common, though, is that we’re completely, head-over heels, in love with being Black. We’re infatuated with it, we breath it, sleep with it, and marinate and luxuriate in it. If I could buy “Blackness” in a 32oz bottle I’d drink that shit too. When you love something this much, you’re not ashamed of it. And when you’re not ashamed of it, you’re not afraid to explore and expose certain parts of it. Our language, our reluctance to censor “nigga” or “nigger” with some ridiculous-ass “n-word” or “n*gga” or other quasi-respectability fuckshit, our conversations and critiques and deconstructions and humor about complexions and “Bougie Black People” and hair and whichever other topic certain types of Black people would prefer not discuss are all bi-products of this love.

Also, it is not uncommon to see a piece on VSB that’s pure satire right next to something serious about race and something irreverent/long-winded about music and something sad about a parent who recently passed. This is not a place where all the content is going to be silly, or all the content is going to be serious. There will be a mix of tones and styles and structures, and it’s on you to keep up.

If this is off-putting to you, that’s fine. We understand. There’s a countless number of sites you can visit that will be more compatible to your tastes and sensibilities. VSB just is not one of them.

4. The titles of our pieces — especially the lists — tend to be very intentional and descriptive, for a reason.

For instance, if something is titled “10 Non-Singing Ass Singers That People Swear Can Sing“, it’s going to be a list of that particular writer’s opinion of 10 non-singing ass singers that people swear can sing. It’s not going to be about “The 10 Worst Singers” or “The 10 Most Underrated Singers” or “The 10 Singers Who Produce The Worst Albums.” There’s no sense — no point — in arguing about what you believe the post should have been written about. One, because…it wasn’t. Arguing about why someone didn’t write about a subject with the angle you thought they should have taken is just unsmart.

Also, just because you discovered VSB this week doesn’t mean VSB was born this week. There are 2,500 different posts in our archives. Which means there’s a chance the angle you thought one of us should have taken was already taken…in 2009.

5. Our comments section is awesome. I believe you will not find a better one on the entire internet. As I mentioned in a profile a couple weeks ago, there are kids who exist today because of the VSB community.

It is also not for the faint of heart. Or the slow of wit. Or the bitchassness of spirit. I encourage you to jump in, but I also warn you to watch for snarks. Smart, sweet, snarky, and asshole sharks.

Anyway, I’m very glad you’ve found your way here, and I hope you stay and have as much fun as we do. If you have any questions, ask them in the comments, and address them to deez nuts.


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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.

  • Welcome. All the young men will flirt with the new ladies that post regardless of avi status

  • kris b.

    Great site. Glad I found it. I love being black and I love reading well-written, witty commentary from black writers. Salute!

  • As we learned yesterday, Tristan isn’t a good litmus for vocal talent.

    • Nick Peters

      were still on Brandy?
      I sound good enough to put out a neo-soul album in the bathroom

    • Yall really rode harder for Moesha than John Legend

      • HeyBooHey

        Because John tends to gargle-sing from the back of his throat whereas Brandy actually uses the depths of her diaphragm. And that’s no bias cuz I actually listen to John Legend. How dare you compare Tristan?!?

        • Because yall love Brandy soooo much she’s going triple aluminum and starring in BET sitcoms

          • celinad6

            You’re implying that talent = success.

            • Alice Smith would have two diamond records if that was true.

              • And Jazmine Sullivan would have 40 Grammy’s but alas, people couldn’t get over her weight. Hollywood is stupid.

                • Jasmine needs to move past her who hurt you music for colored girls who let their man drive their car when raising his kids wasn’t enough

                  • Epsilonicus

                    This right here is too much. My chest hurts from laughing too hard

                  • KB


          • mssporadic

            Since the whole debacle between her baby daddy and Rodney Jerkins, she’s hasn’t had good material. Also, I don’t think she really knew her place anymore after all the lying an sh…

      • miss t-lee

        Of course we would.

      • This thing is, there are a grip of people who can sing that I don’t care for, doesn’t make them any less talented. Ben Carson is an amazing doctor but he’s still a garbage person as it relates to politics, doesn’t make him any less of a doctor because I dislike him.

        • I don’t dislike Brandy but I think on most of her songs she’s not really singing

          • KB

            Her album “Full Moon” was pretty dope.

    • And people’s blind hatred of Beyonce makes them think she can’t sing.

      • As I said yesterday, people who swear Beyoncé can’t sing are caught up in trying to be different. “Look at me, everyone else likes Beyoncé but I’m special because I’m letting you know I hate her voice and I think she’s ugly”

        Oh ok. You got it.

  • Nick Peters

    Don’t worry…everyone has no idea when the site will crash

    • Wild Cougar

      Do they have cloud hosting?

      • Nick Peters

        If I knew what cloud hosting was I could answer that question

        • Wild Cougar

          They said they kept buying server space, that process is easier with cloud hosting.

  • January Jones

    Thanks for this. I thought the trolls would never go to bed. Sheesh

  • iamnotakata

    Dang folks got that worked up about yalls post? Well I’ll say as a VSB OG est. 09 in this B! that I appreciate the different views and perspectives that yall offer and I hope it stays that way!

    • panamajackson

      Folks definitely did. I actually received an email from the one of the singer’s PR reps asking me to make some corrections to my description of said individual. That really happened.

      • I feel like Carl Thomas isn’t above that…. He is *puts on sunglasses* Emotional

        • panamajackson


          • KB

            They flew the Petty copter on you

      • Sigma_Since 93

        I’m waiting for the slander lawsuit and the bottomless mimosa legal defense fund brunch / day party

      • Lea Thrace

        Come on man. You know you have to tell us which singer it was.

        My petty needs to be fed dammit!

      • miss t-lee

        No dayum way!!!

      • Charlisia Nwachukwu

        HA! What? Free Speech bitches

      • Amber

        I’m sure John Legend’s folks had a bunch of corrections. He’s the only person that sticks out from your kist

      • PhlyyPhree

        Was it Teedra? I bet it was Teedra. You know her people still have it out for you.

      • “Ninja we made it!”

      • Wild Cougar

        Oh My Gawd

      • LMNOP

        Wow. Impressive.

      • nillalatte

        Damn. They is serious, huh? lol You up in here setting fires out there. Nice. lol Keep it up. We gonna have to get you a Luther in the opposite mode; one that calms the people down. lol

  • Bushido Brown

    I’m usually a lurker on here but I’ve enjoy all the posts you’ll have put out.

  • She Who Reads

    Even after I receive my PhD on August 8th of this year, “Deez nuts” will still be an appropriate response to any inane question.

    • Lea Thrace

      I have added “Deez nuts” and “and sh*t” to my lexicon thanks to VSB

      each one teach one and sh*t

      • Sigma_Since 93

        don’t forget “Honolulu Slim” and “Hott Toddin”

        • Lea Thrace


          @AfroPetite:disqus and @Wu pioneering the way with those.

          • Sigma_Since 93

            No that’s Bunni and Todd arguing over naming rights on Hott Toddin. It’s currently in the appellate moderation court waiting for Liz to review….see what I did there? :D

      • PhlyyPhree

        I was JUST about to say that I’m still waiting on my “and Sh*t” shirt…and sh*t

    • KB

      Deez nutz will NEVA go out of style. Shout out to the original skit on Dr. Dre’s the Chronic for introducing us to that term.

      • The original never had the umph it needed, my favorite might be from the Boondocks episode

        • KB

          That was classic. Homey left him a jar of nuts as part of his last will and testament. That is hall of fame worthy.

    • miss t-lee

      It’s a classic. The classics never go out of style.

    • Melinda E. Jennings


    • veryaveragebrotha
    • LMNOP

      Congratulations soon-to-be Dr. She Who Reads!!

      • She Who Reads

        Ahhhhhh, thank you so much!!!!! I defend my dissertation June 5th.

        Oooooh, that’s a wonderful name!!!! I might change it.

        • LMNOP

          That’s a pretty amazing accomplishment, good luck with the dissertation defending!

    • JanuaryBabe

      Congratulations Gurl!

  • gurlgamer05

    I’ve been mainly lurking since 09, I just comment randomly bc I like having my job esp now that I have a kid and a house and stuff. I love knowing that I never know what I’m going to stumble across here.

  • Champ has an uncanny ability to write 650+ words about anything, he also likes to make up conversations with hypothetical people

    Panama has an uncanny ability to write 1000 words about something that really needed 17, if you don’t fall one of his mental rabbit holes you get the gist

    Maya was the much needed black woman voice to the site, then she disappeared

    Samantha was also another female voice, she promoted her book and went upstairs with Judy Winslow

    Jozen is a good writer but he checked his ask.fm and ain’t been back since

    Hardy is probably the consensus favorite of the new Avengers but again he doesn’t post much

    Shamira climbed from the shark infested comments to contributor, she did LHH recaps but now this season sucks so she chilling

    There’s a recurring theme here….

    • Yellow Tail

      I really do miss Maya’s posts.

      • AlwaysCC

        sometimes i read her tweets on the side of the page and just WISH that she would right entire articles about some of them lol

    • KB

      We Need Shamira back for the LHHA posts. Wherefore art thou has thee been hiding? Maybe if I say her name 5 times in front of a mirror in a dark room she will show up and side-eye Kurt

      • This season feels like a retread of the last season and Joc is trying too hard to become the breakout star

        • uniquebeauty79

          Joc likes toes.. Has nothing to do with what you two were talking about. I just wanted to throw that out there.

          • He’s a Toemosexual, a sub, I really don’t need to learn what else

            • uniquebeauty79

              LOL, I def have to use that terminology!!

    • CrayolaGirl

      Tears @ “went upstairs with Judy Winslow”

    • LMNOP

      I read Samantha’s book after her post here. She is hilarious, it’s a good book. I literally laughed and cried.

      • She’s a good writer, she did VSB like Diamond Strawberry tho

    • LMNOP

      Oh how did you forget about vegan library guy?*

      *I love libraries and vegetables, so you’re cool with me, vegan library lover.

      • I rather pretend saucy rice and the professional meet up attendee don’t exist

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