The First (And Last) Annual Wyclef Picture Caption Contest!

Earlier this week, a picture of a surprisingly buff and equally ashy Wyclef Jean celebrating his 43rd birthday hit the internet. Oiled up and straddling a Ducati, to say it seems like he’s having a midlife crisis would be like saying “That bra probably won’t fit Aretha.” (Btw, between Clef, Dr. Dre — who looks like he was messing around with some HGH one day and just said “F*ck it” and injected the entire “Detox” album in his scrotum too, and Busta Rhymes — who somehow morphed into a dieseler version of Tracy Morgan, what the hell is up with these middle aged rappers all of a sudden deciding to get all Ben Johnson?)

Anyway, in honor of Clef’s birthday suit, we’re going to have a contest. Whoever can think of the best caption for that pic will receive a PDF of “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night.”

How exactly will the best caption be decided? Well, I plan to use a completely unscientific, completely arbitrary, and completely whimsical judging process that incorporates which caption gets the best response in the comments, Panama and Liz’s feelings about it, and, well, whoever I just want to give the award to. It’s my contest and I can do what the f*ck I want to.

The winner will be announced at 3pm EST in the comments, Twitter, and Facebook.

Don’t get captured.

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

***On behalf of everyone involved with VSB: The TV Pilot, I’d like to thank everyone for helping last week’s Five Dollar Friday be such a success. We managed to raise over $1,500! Although we’re pretty much half way to our goal, our campaign only has six days left. If you haven’t done so already, please visit our Indidgogo page. And, if you can support it, please do. Thanks again!***

Cheers To The First Lady of VSB, Liz B.

As most of you know, this past Wednesday, June 6, was Liz’s birthday. Some of you who are newer might be trying to figure out who the hell Liz is in the first place. Others who’ve been around for eons may wonder where Liz has been lately. Sometimes she shows up sporadically and then disappears like a ghost in the night not to be seen again for months. Well she’s pretty busy, that Liz.

Anyway, I figured that since she did such a bang up job last year on my birthday with the most hilarious post about the most ungangsta things about myself – none of which I can deny, by the way – that I might as well share some interesting things about Liz. And give some back story into the whole VSB thing and also some random, yet interesting tidbits. See, being the third and mostly silent (except when she’s 404ing some of you mofos) partner of VSB, it’s possible to get obscured and/or not get as much shine. And truth be told, she probably likes it that way to some degree. Liz is #boutdatlife when it comes to the ‘net, but like most of you ninjas, she’s also highly introverted and would probably become an icon on her MacBook’s desktop if she could.

So let’s just delve right in. We’ll see how and where this goes but it’s time to put Liz’s business in these streets in a good and fun way. Happy birthday week, Liz!

Backstory:

Liz is the reason I ever started blogging. Real talk. I found Liz’s old blog, BlackMartha, via the blog of one of my boys from Morehouse, KillaCal, who was early into this blogging thing. I was going through his blogroll one day and clicked on her blog and started reading about this AKA chick who lived in Boston and went to MIT and all the crap she was going through. This was back when folks got mad personal on their blogs. Y’all might not get the chance to really know this but Liz is a great writer. And her blog was fascinating. I checked on it daily. I’m pretty sure I never left a comment. I also can’t remember if this was 2003 or 2004. Either way, it was a LONG time ago, so much so that probably only Fela Kuti could appreciate it. (<—random non-pop culture reference)

One day, on a lark, I IM’d her and it was on like donkey kong. I’m sure she wondered who the hell this random dude was but soon we were, like, total BFFs. You all remember the days when the folks you met online knew more about your personal life than the people you saw everyday? Yeah, that was my life. Well, in my randomness of randomnesses, Liz convinced me to start blogging. Now I had no idea what it was or why I should do it, but she convinced me and well, the rest is history. That’s pretty much how VSB got off the ground. Every tech issue or need for blogging know-how would go through Liz even before VSB, so when Damon and I came up with the idea for this blog, we went straight to Liz who offered to set it up. So effectively, since I met Liz, she’s been the backbone of nearly everything I’ve done online.

Real talk, I credit Liz with all of the success I’ve had since I’ve started blogging, seeing as the world has opened up for me in various ways both professionally and personally. It if wasn’t for her prodding and championing and encouraging my shenanigans…nobody would have any idea who I was. I’m positive of that.

Random: Liz and I have collaborated on more ingenious non-started up business ventures than you could possibly imagine. Seriously, we’ve come up with business ideas that will change the world. We’re just both Geminis which means 98 percent of them stay in the idea phase. Wompington Womperstein. The funny part is that while VSB has definitely blown up in the blog world, I think Liz may be as famous if not more on the internet geek side. We’ve been out places and somebody would find out Liz was there and blow a gasket. People always want to meet her. And because to me, HTML always stood for “Ho, Too Much Lettuce”, I always assumed there was some internet genius underworld that she was running that I wasn’t bright enough to understand.

I also remember the first time I met Liz…at a Coldstone Creamery in Times Square in NYC waaaaaaaaaay back yonder. That first meeting was awkward because, well, two ninjas who met on the Internet were going to have an odd meeting in 2004. Hell, back then, folks really might have been serial killers. Back then, nobody was finding love in the Internet. That was when folks looked at you sideways for making friends via the ‘net.

But we truly became fast friends. She came to Morehouse’s homecoming with me and my homies one year; I went to her graduation from undergrad. She’s stayed in my house with my girlfriend (at the time) and played with my kid. I’ve met her family. She’s one of those friends who always gets name dropped when a woman comes into the picture. Because she’s not going anywhere.

And now that she’s running all types of sh*t up in NYC for MadameNoire (that’s what I like to tell myself), I couldn’t be prouder or happier. It’s funny because as real friends go we’ve had our ups and downs. We’ve been there for all types of real life dramas and hardships and met family members, etc. At the end of the day, I want nothing but the best for Liz as she travails the world of running things. She might not be around VSB all the time like she used to but she’s also busy as all hell so she never has the time. But that’s okay. Point is, Liz is the homey for life and as vital and important to the VSB story as Damon or I. And because of her background role she likely never gets her just due…so I figured, why not write a quick tribute and walk down memory lane.

So in case you didn’t get a chance to say Happy Birthday to Liz, please do so and throw a dub up (she’s from California by way of New Mexico…the real New Mexico…as in her grandparents had an emu farm, New Mexico) for the homey Liz. She’s the reason you’re even on VSB right now.

Thanks homey…hope your bday week is and has been a most fruitful and enjoyous one.

Signed…

-VSB P

It’s time for another Very Smart Single out there, check out the profile for B. Greene ladies, and if you’re interested, send us an email at contact@verysmartbrothas.com!

One more time, for all the folks in DC: I won a happy hour at McFaddens at 2401 Pennsylvania Ave, NW from 10pm-midnight. All drinks are $3 if you come in and say my name (say my name) at the door. You’ll get a wristband. I’ll be there chillin’ hanging out. So come on down and kick it with ya’ boy and have a drink and chillax. Stay a minute or twelve. Or 2 hours. Holla.

You Know How We Do It?

911 Emergency. Reconnect The Community.

I’ve made a lot of interesting discoveries since I became a parent. I’ve learned that the Disney Channel has a lot of cool shows. I know who Selena Gomez AND Demi Lovato are and could identify them on sight…in public. I also learned that Phineas and Ferb f*ckin’ rocks and there are some very very good children’s albums.

I’ve also learned extreme patience and the importance of clearly explaining myself for the most effective results.

Which brings me to yesterday and the most interesting lesson I learned: birthday parties do seem to differ by race.

Okay, that might not be completely accurate, as my sample size seems rather small, however, I’ve never let facts get in the way of a perfectly good sociological discovery and analysis, so why start now.

My daughter is a toddler. She’s *this* many years old. So at this point, I’ve been to my fair share of birthday parties. But until yesterday, I hadn’t thought about the fact that, for the most part, nearly all of the party goers were of the ninja persuasion. You see, for the first time, I took my daughter to a birthday party where I was the only ninja participant. My daughter goes to a very diverse daycare/pre-school and has taken a particular liking to a certain Caucasian classmate who is the same age. They *heart* each other. It’s actually cute.

Being the professional observationist that I am, I noticed so many interesting tidbits. For instance, I had to be the youngest parent there. Which struck me as odd since I’m fairly sure that I looked like a teenage parent compared to the other parents. And it wasn’t just my spirit. I think I really just looked that young compared to the rest. That was very different since, well, whenever I go to a bday party of color for my daughter, everybody is pretty much the same age or a little younger than I am. I don’t feel young is the main bullet point.

The next thing that jumped out to me is that all of the parents kept talking about work and travel plans. Literally, I heard more conversations that involved taking a dog overseas than I’ve ever heard in my life. It was all, “my proposal” this or ” this week in July” that. It was interesting because at all of the colored parties I’ve been to, I can’t remember anybody having an in-depth conversation about those things. Not that they don’t happen, I’ve just never heard that.

Most of the birthday parties I’ve been to are full of life conversations as well, but I suppose since most of us know each other very well, they don’t come across as “professional” so to speak. It’s like a regular party with your homeboys or homegirls. But I did know for a fact that these folks all lived very near each other. Hmmm….perhaps its the age thing. Maybe me and my friends are just ignant and the rest of the world is having meaningful and substantive conversations at toddler birthday parties. Maybe…just maybe…Hennessy ISN’T part of the toddler birthday party experience.

That last line is a joke.

No really. I don’t even drink when I have my daughter nor will I ever around her. She moves too quickly for me to have any type of impaired athletic abilities.

Even though they either didn’t realize it or wouldn’t think anything of it, I felt like I got a cultural experience just from going to an upwardly mobile white toddler birthday party. (The white parents at the school where my daughter goes are largely well-to-do hippy, earthy-crunchy, tree huggers with money that affords the ability to be novelists and random artisans). And I immediately thought about how interesting it would be to invite a few of those parents to my daughter’s bday party with a bunch of ninjas with kids the same age as theirs but likely 10 years younger that featured music that included the clean version of “Cashin’ Out” and the catalog of the seminal talent, 2 Chainz. (I actually really mean that, like, how can anybody NOT like 2 Chainz? He entertains me. SIMILAC! Oh, and that Ca$h Out ninja is one ugly motherlover. Like Cash Money Records 1998 ugly.)

Granted, this was just one party. And it was at a park. So alcohol was prohibited. But this seemed very natural. And it was cool. I enjoyed the learning that took place even thought it wasn’t intentional. So I assume that there must be other areas where folks have had similar experiences, right? Doing one thing with your peoples and the same thing with other folks peoples and immediate differences (good and bad) surface?

It’s Monday, let’s be cultural…what experiences have you folks have that mirror mine? Learn me something. Learn us something

-VSB P aka MR. BDAY EXTRAVAGANZA aka GIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRL HE A 3

Happy Birthday, Mr. P: The 32 Most Ungangsta Facts About Panama Jackson

He thinks he's gangsta, but he's sooooo not.

People of VSB.

This is not your Champ or your Panama speaking. This is Liz, the third but non-testicled member of  #TeamVSB coming to you today for a very special occasion.

Today is a national holiday here at VSB. This is the day the Lord has made in which we celebrate the birth of the one and only Most Valuable 3, Panama Jackson (no relation to O’Shea).

*applause*

Today we give a digital toast to Peej as he turns 32.

*raises computer mouse in the air*

As one of Ps gooder friends for the past 6 or 7 years (damb, we gettin old), I feel like spilling a little tea today. Some P Tea, if you will. I’ve heard the rumblings in these e-streets: Is Panama really as gangsta as he lets on online? What’s P like when he lets his hair down? Does he put his left sock on first, or his right? I have the answers to these questions and more. In honor of Year #32, I bring you The 32 Most Ungangsta Facts About Panama Jackson: Continue reading

Do You Know What Today Is?

It's our Anniversary Bitches

That’s right, folks. Today, March 31, 2010 is our Anniversary. The day that marketh the conclusion of the second year of VSB.com’s birth.

A few words from the VSB Leadership

Panama Jackson: I, Panama Dontavious Jackson, just want to thank you, heavenly father, for shining your light on me. You make me happy, so very ha…waitaminute. Oh. Right. VSB. We just want everybody to know how much we appreciate you all coming thru over the past 2 years. There have been ups and downs. Tears and fears. Sometimes we traded tears for fears but at the end of the day, the fact that I’m a 3 never railroaded me. And since no trains were run during the making of this accomplishment, today was a good day. It is definitely hard to say goodbye to yesterday, but tomorrow will bring, a better you, a better me. To all of you folks who come here everyday and read and comment, or just read, thanks for sleepwalking. We’ve got some bigger and better things on deck and hopefully you all will come along for the ride. We’re going from a 4.0 to a 4.6. And you know the difference between those two. And if you don’t, I’m sure somebody here will tell you. Peace to the Gods, the Earths, and the Seeds. Your friendly neighborhood 3. Thanks for real. For I am nothing, nothing, nothing…if I (we) don’t…haaaaaaaaaaaave yoooooooooooooooou…Word. Life.

The Champ: in the last two years we’ve seen a black president bring back light-skinned black male points, the dumbest thing out of alaska since the last season of “northern exposure”, the births of twitter, facebook lesbians, kanyes shag, and the overuse of the word “vet” as well as the deaths of the king of pop, hip-hop, autotune, gatorade, corey haim, john edwards’ career and kat stacks’ vag1na.

still, all of this pales in comparison to the rise of verysmartbrothas.com, the modern day continuance of riley and springers lonely shanty nights, a deadly culmination of panama jackson, liz burr, liz burr’s boobs, and an eggheaded cat from pittsburgh, and I graciously thank you for allowing us to be the most important thing any of you have ever had in your lives.

Liz: If I went by  our email inbox, half of ya’ll don’t know who I am or that I help keep VSB afloat, but that’s alright. I still love you anyway. Thanks for making these past two years freaking awesome, and for putting up with us PJ and the Champ. It’s been fun working on such a large site with such an awesome community. I have enjoyed seeing the site grow and blossom to some wonderful wonderfullness, and I hope you’ll like the cool stuff we have planned in the near future.

Now, for the BIRTHDAY PRESENTS

Some of you may remember for our Centennial post we gave out (virtual) Commenter Awards. To celebrate our Second Birthday, we wanted to give a special thanks to the 10 most commenting-est commenters on VSB for the last two years. That’s right, we’re GIVING AWAY FREE VSB T-SHIRTS to these special folks. And not just any shirt, we have some new shirts coming down the pipeline (designed by a real designer!), and these Chosen Few will be the first to receive our brand spanking new exclusive design. Without further adieu …*drumroll*

The Top 10 Most Commentingest VSB Commenters of ALL TIME!

  1. miss t-lee
  2. Me fail english?
  3. Cheekie
  4. Luvvie
  5. blackberry molasses
  6. shatani
  7. WuDaMan
  8. pgh muse
  9. Gem of the Ocean
  10. Deviant

These super VSBs and VSSs have comment counts into the several thousands. Impressive. We appreciate their time and dedication to never shutting the f*ck up moving conversation here on VSB and would like for everyone to give them a nice VSB soul clap and throw a lil VSB glitter in the air. (If your name is on this list, we will be e-mailing you shortly about t-shirt options and delivery.)

The Best of VSB

10 Most Viewed Posts

  1. pants on fire: 7 things we (men) like much more than you think we do…even though we’ll never admit it
  2. clutching the pearls: the 4 sexiest scenes in black movie history
  3. can’t trust it: 9 women to avoid at all costs
  4. School Daze: 4 Reasons Why HBCU’s are Better Than Wherever You Went (Unless You Went to an HBCU)
  5. sadie’s suspect: four reasons why women shouldn’t pursue men
  6. love. actually.
  7. That’s What He Said!: 8 Great Quotes From Movies You Love (When The Rainbow Isn’t Enough).
  8. all points bulletin
  9. nevermind: five surefire ways to scare her away
  10. Blackness 101: 10 Things All Black People Should (At Least) Be Aware Of…

10 Most Commented Posts

  1. Hardest.Question.Ever.
  2. better than the alternative
  3. Obamanation
  4. Thursday Amusement: If You Don’t Know Me By Now.
  5. the black pass
  6. link of the week: chelly o and the “angry” black chick conundrum
  7. Judging Books By Their Covers: 13 Nouns I Just Can’t Trust
  8. It’s Our Centennial, B*tches!
  9. things that make you much more randy than they probably should
  10. Muffin.

Time for a group hug

Thanks again for taking the time to visit VSB everyday. This is the part where all the lurkers take the time to de-lurk, and leave their first comment on VSB. Everybody else? You know what to do…