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.)
(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.