With an average of 12,000 daily unique visitors, 30,000 daily page views, 500 to 1200 comments per entry, and a combined 20,000 followers on Facebook and Twitter, in the four years since its launch, VerySmartBrothas.com has grown from a content driven blog to a content driven community.
Exactly how vast this community has become was apparent 2/10/2011 â€“ the date of our â€œYour Degrees Wonâ€™t Keep You Warm At Nightâ€ launch party. Instead of having a party in one city, we had simultaneous launch parties in ten different cities.
Coined â€œNational VSB Day,â€ over 1000 people gathered in Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Dallas, Chicago, New York City, Oakland, California, Miami, Los Angeles, and Houston to celebrate the release of our book. This all occurred despite the fact that Pittsburgh (Damon) and D.C. (Panama) were the only cities where one of us actually attended the event. But, our fans are so into the community weâ€™ve created that our attendance wasnâ€™t required for them to still want to meet each other and discuss, debate, and bond over all things VSB. Â
We followed â€œNational VSB Dayâ€ with a three year anniversary party in D.C. on April 2nd â€“ an event which featured three amazing things:
1. Over 500 of our fans were able to attend. Some came from as far as Miami and Seattle.
2. We managed to sell over 100 copies of â€œYour Degrees Wonâ€™t Keep You Warm At Night.â€ Some of these people had even already purchased both the paperback and Kindle versions of the book, and just wanted to buy an autographed copy.
3. This event marked the very first time that we met in person.
Itâ€™s been a year since â€œYour Degreesâ€¦â€ was released. In that time, weâ€™ve sold approximately 5,000 copies of the book.
Although the release of â€œYour Degrees Wonâ€™t Keep You Warm At Nightâ€ resulted in a large increase in media attention and blog growth, our popularity had already started to grow. While it might seem as if weâ€™ve come out of nowhere, weâ€™ve been building this base of support and patronage for years.
For instance, VerySmartBrothas.com launched March 31st of 2008, and by the next month, we were already receiving 150 to 200 hundred comments per entry â€“ an unprecedented feat for an independent niche blog. We received our first national press a short time later â€“ a feature in the â€œBlogarithmsâ€ section of the New York, Boston, and Philadelphia versions of The Metro News.
VerySmartBrothas.com is also branching out to the small screen, as weâ€™ve signed an option agreement with L.A.-based Solo Journey Productions to produce an eight episode webseries based on the book. And, along with our existing partnership with Solo Journey, weâ€™re negotiating a deal with Yari Film Group — the company responsible for â€œCrashâ€ and â€œThe Illusionistâ€ — to produce a television pilot.
Hereâ€™s a look at the most prominent of the hundreds of links, articles, reviews, radio, and television spots that have featured us and/or â€œYour Degrees Wonâ€™t Keep You Warm At Nightâ€ in the past year.
- BETâ€™s Weekly With Ed Gordon, March 6thÂ 2011.
Â National Radio
- Michael Eric Dyson, May 25th 2011.
- Jesse Lee Peterson Radio Show, April 20thÂ 2011.
- The Michael Baisden Show, March 21stÂ 2011.
- The Bev Smith Show, February 14thÂ 2011.
- TheRoot.comÂ compiled a list of â€œ30 Black Bloggers You Should Know.â€ VerySmartBrothas.com was the first blog named.
- VerySmartBrothas.com was named alongside luminaries such as Barack Obama, Oprah, and Kanye West to Ebony Magazineâ€™s â€œPower 100â€ — an annual list celebrating â€œinnovators, movers and shakersâ€¦who are shaping the world in new and different ways,” in January 2012 (Earlier that month, Jet Magazine also released an issue naming VerySmartBrothas one of the three biggest Web Wonders of the year.)
- Black EnterpriseÂ showcased the business end of VerySmartBrothas.com in â€œBlack Blogger Month: Very Smart Brothas, Separate But Equal,” in May 2011.
- The Washington Post profiled VerySmartBrothas.com, in April 2011.
- Essence Magazine interviewed The Champ and Panama in â€œ5 Questions with VerySmartBrothas.com Creators,” in March 2011.
- Edge Magazine featured VerySmartBrothas.com in their March issue. Titled â€œThe Voice(s) of Reason: Very Smart Brothas,â€ itâ€™s a very extensive look at what goes into creating VSB.
- The Root also interviewed The Champ and Panama for a featured article – Â â€œVery Smart Brothas on Love and Self-Awareness,” in Feburary 2011.
- Â Clutch Magazine interviewedÂ VerySmartBrothas.com in December 2008.
- TheLoop21.com â€œBloggy Blog World: Black Bloggers Push “Publish” Button For Book Deals.â€
- Helena Andrews â€“ author of the â€œBitch Is The New Blackâ€ â€“ reviewed â€œYour Degrees Wont Keep You Warm At Nightâ€ on TheRoot.com. From the review:
Written by Damon “the Champ” Young and Panama Jackson, the two “very smart brothas” behind the blog of the same name, Your Degrees isn’t the latest literary money pit for pitiful women looking to “find, keep and understand a man.” Instead, the book, which reads more like a “best of” blog series (in a good way), is a case study in new-millennium mating for like-minded folk who live near a metro. The book is playful without being patronizing.
- From â€œGet With This: Your Degrees Wonâ€™t Keep You Warm At Nightâ€ a review from Ebony Magazine news and features editor (digital) Jamilah Lemieux:
Unlike many of the male writers who write about romance for primarily female audiences, the VSBs have never postured themselves as â€œexpertsâ€, or acted as if the entire onus of burden for dating falls on feminine shoulders; their approach has always been among the lines of â€œWeâ€™re dudes. We love women. We have some opinions that may help some of you and we can all have a good laugh while we share them.â€ They donâ€™t take themselves too seriously, yet they have a lot of insight and pragmatic advice to share.
The VSBs do take a few stances that I donâ€™t agree with; for example, The Champ is very cynical about platonic friendships between men and women (though he mentions having homegirls a few times in the book) and both of them are a bit old-school about the idea of a woman approaching a man. However, Iâ€™ve found a lot of things that I connect with throughout the book and the run of the site (I predict the term â€œDiva Dudesâ€ to become part of the official educated Negro lexicon within the year) and reading their work feels like talking to a few of my snarky, brilliant homeboys more than anything else.
Panels and Features
- In June, Damon will also be a panelist atÂ Blogging While Brown 2012.
- Panama Â moderated numerous panels for The Washington Post, including a sitdown with â€œThink Like a Manâ€ actor Michael Ealy and â€œBlack Identity and Culture in The Mass Media.â€
- In early 2012, Panama was featured in â€œAsk A Black Manâ€ — an on-going web series at Madame Noire.
- In January of 2012, Damon appeared in an Essence Magazine feature/photo spread devoted to dating and relationship advice. Hereâ€™s a link to the video made before the photoshoot.
- Panama was a panelist for Hip-Hop: Art and Life Presents -Â Hip-Hop 2.0 for Princeton UniversityÂ along with Dr. Cornel West and other musicians and scholars.
- Damon served as a keynote speaker atÂ Blogalicious 2011Â — an annual social media conference for women of color.
- Damon served as a panelist in both the D.C. (March 2010) and NYC (June 2010) editions of Paul Carrick Brunsonâ€™s â€œModern Day MatchMaker Liveâ€ shows. Â Click hereÂ for a summary of the D.C. show.
- Panama served as a panelist at Florida A&M Universityâ€™s â€œI Am A Man: FAMU Man Rising Panelâ€ in February of 2010.
- In January of 2010, Essence Magazine featured an article originally written by Damon on VerySmartBrothas.com that debunks the myth that most high profile black men flock to marry non-black women.
- Also, in the summer of 2010, VerySmartBrothas was featured in a high profile Q&A back and forth with Ruby Veridiano during her audition to become MTVâ€™s VJ:
- 2011: FiveÂ awards – Best Blog, Best Comedy Blog, Best Writing in a Blog, Best Blog Duo, Best Sex and Relationship Blog.
- 2010: Best Group Blog, Best Humor Blog
- 2009: Best Writing In A Blog, Best Group Blog
Last, but not least, the YouTube video based on the post, “Shit Bougie Black Girls Say.”