“Very Smart Brothas” Pilot Part 2

(Answers to questions you’re probably going to have after watching this)

1. Yes, that is the guy from Heroes and Hawaii Five-O. 

2. Yes, in real life, a woman did actually say something similar to what the first interviewee said to us. (She said it online, though. Not in person.)

3. No, we haven’t met anyone with our names tattooed on their boobs. But, we both have definitely had…um…hmm…nevermind. I’m engaged now. Can’t talk about that stuff anymore.

4. No, that’s not how I approached the Gay Reindeer when I first saw her.

Anyway, let us know what you think. (Oh, and if you like it, share it with people. Shit, share it if you don’t like it and just want to talk shit. The more eyes and feedback, the better.) 

***Also, just in case you needed to catch up, here’s Part 1 again***

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”)

On Fear, Love, and Loneliness

(The Champ’s latest at EBONY touches on why dying alone is a fear many of us share)

At a friend’s request, I attended a birthday party at a Veteran’s hospital a few weekends ago. The party was for her great uncle—a resident there—and we celebrated his 85th birthday with some cake, dancing, and pictures in one of the hospital’s common areas. After a couple hours or so, we walked him back to his room, said our goodbyes, and left.

After leaving, my friend noticed that I seemed a bit down—odd, considering that we just left a birthday party. She asked me what was wrong, and after stonewalling her for a couple minutes, I finally let it out.

That was my first time in a veteran’s hospital. And, I was not prepared for what I was going to see.

I knew veteran’s hospitals existed. My late grandfather actually worked in one for over 30 years. I also knew that many of these hospitals are populated with mentally and physically disabled men who either have families and loved ones who don’t have the financial means to take care of them or just don’t have anybody at all. But, knowing they exist and actually visiting the hospital and seeing these men in the final stages of their lives are two separate things.

That it’s located in a secluded part of the city, hidden by trees, engulfed by hills, and adjacent to a youth detention center doesn’t seem accidental. It is, by every definition of the term, “out of the way,” and while it is presumptuous to say this, I couldn’t help but think that the majority of men (and women) there were placed there to be out of our collective way.

Seeing and thinking about this upset me. And, this is when I thought about my parents.

Read more at EBONY.com

Deuces, 2012

Coming soon…

So, since this will be the last VSB post of 2012—I know, I know, I know. It’s tragic. Please try not to cry too much—we’d like to end the year with a couple updates about what’s going on with us now and what to look forward to in 2013.

***When you come back in January, there will be some very noticeable changes with the site. Won’t go into detail about what exactly that’ll entail, but yeah. Things will just be…different.

***The filming and editing process with our TV Pilot is almost complete. Although the site won’t be active for the next couple of weeks, our Twitter and Facebook pages will still be updated.

***We’re also going to start distributing the gifts promised to those who contributed. Those should be coming in the next few weeks.

***Book #2 is in the works. Won’t give away too much about that yet, but will say that it has, um, something to do with this. 

***If you find yourself missing words written by VSB over the next couple of weeks, you can always find me at Ebony.com and Madame Noire and Panama at Guyspeak

That’s about it, folks. We hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday experience, and if the world doesn’t end in the next couple of days, we’ll see you all in 2013!

—Damon Young (aka “The Champ”) 

Casting “Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm At Night” — The Movie

Coming to a dollar theater or barbershop bootlegger near you

So, after (half)jokingly mentioning that the upcoming “Act Like A Lady, Think Like a Man” movie means that the “Your Degrees…” flick can’t be far off, a few people ran with that idea in the comments section and on Twitter; having their own “auditions” where they named which actors and actresses should play Liz, Panama, and I. They each also took it a step further and (of course) put themselves in the movie and cast that role as well.

Hmm. Sounds like a great idea for a Friday.

If I were casting the VSB movie…

Casting The Champ

To cast a convincing me, I’d need an actor who can pull off the dry (and occasionally inappropriate) deadpan humor thing; a guy who’s laidback and may seem shy at first but is surprisingly (and completely) arrogant. He’d also need a smart-aleck/sarcastic streak, and he’d need to look like he was capable of being a college basketball player at one point in his life. Having an accent no one has ever heard before would help, too.

I saw that Isiah Washington was mentioned on Twitter, but although we definitely know he’s available, he’s like 20 years older than me. I thought of Donald Glover because he could definitely pull off the deadpan/dry humor thing and the laidback thing, but I might be a foot taller than him and I probably outweigh him by 100 pounds.

This leaves us with two actors. Anthony Mackie Rob Brown (just off of the strength of his role/performance in Finding Forrester) and Craig Robinson. Who I’d end of choosing between the two depends on the director (more on that later)

***Also thought about putting Jay Pharoah here, but I need to see if he can act outside of SNL***

Casting Panama Jackson

For P, you’d need a guy with an oversized personality who doesn’t hold his tongue. An extrovert, life of the party type who’s also a bit more thoughtful and sensitive (and smarter) than he wants people to believe. Basically, while The Champ is the “nice guy” who’s secretly kind of an asshole, the Panama character would have to be the opposite. He’d also need to be a guy who you can see shifting from the corporate/conservative office setting to Chucks and Levi’s with ease, and it would definitely help if this actor had some “southern-ness” to him as well.

Honestly, the first name that came to mind was Vince Vaughn, but he doesn’t work for obvious reasons. Terrance Howard has the secretly sensitive asshole thing down pact, but I don’t want Mr. Wet Wipes anywhere near this project. I thought of J. D. Williams too, but I just can’t see Bodie Broadus ever being a responsible dad and holding down a “square” 9 to 5.

Again, who I decide on depends on the director, but right now the two best candidates seem to be Donald Faizon (Who I think would be perfect) and Ice Cube Mos Def.

***I know P’s biracial, but aside from The Rock and Vin Diesel, there aint all that many biracial actors running around to choose from***

Casting Liz

Liz is the easiest casting decision. You’d need an actress who could be a professional devil’s advocate/hater with a secretly vicious sense of humor, but a true heart of gold. You’d also need to hire a woman who could realistically be an M.I.T. grad (sorry LisaRaye), who thinks she has hoodrat tendencies but really doesn’t. Lastly, she definitely needs to have some “Valley Girl” in her.

Jennifer Hudson, Maya Rudolph, and Tracee Ellis Ross all came to mine, but for this role, regardless of the director, I’d go with a newcomer, Issa Rae — a woman who many of you know as The Awkward Black Girl.

***Mindy Kaling and Angela Nissel could both definitely work here too***

The Director

If we’re going straight comedy, it has to be Judd Apatow. If we’re going for more of a dark comedy/drama feel, I’d like Stephen Frears, Ted Witcher or (as a wildcard) the Coen brothers. (Wanted to put Tarantino here, but I just don’t think he’d fit with the material)

If we’re going all black everything, I’d pull Robert Townsend’s ass out of retirement and let him and the entire Wayans crew take a stab at it.

Anyway, budding VSB producers and casting agents, who would you cast in the VSB movie? Also, don’t limit it to Liz, Panama, and I. Please put yourself in the movie, and if you’d like, your favorite VSB regulars as well. Who would play you?

The red carpet is yours.

—The Champ