1. paul carrick brunson is for real
admittedly, i was a bit skeptical when paul first invited me to be on the show.
i wasn’t sure how well the panelists –dating diva jj smith (author of “why i love men”), charlotte burley (creator and host of BET’s “the turn on spot“), model and artist leah santiago kiarash, model reinaldo faberlle, dominic (one of the twins from season two of the tila tequila show), and yours truly– would mesh, and i wasn’t 100 percent confident that moderator nikki nokes (author of “maybe its you“) would keep us all on-point.
i thought the planned poetry/performance piece –with bassey ikpi, rasheed, and jonathan b. tucker– seemed a bit contrived. and, although i knew that a giant video screen, a live twitter feed, an albino monkey trained to dutty wine on cue, comedian lawrence jarrett, yesha callahan (from fungkeblakchik), video blogger tonya tko, the wb, and musician w. ellington felton were involved in someway, i had no idea how (or why) it would all fit together.
***also, to be completely honest, i was extremely anxious about how well my written “verysmart-ness” would translate on a live panel. you see, writing allows you to edit, re-read, and reflect on your thoughts before you actually put them out there, and i’m much more comfortable (and better at) doing that than speaking extemporaneously***
most importantly, i wasn’t sure about paul.
although i was familiar with his work around the web, the cynic in me wondered how genuine this modern day matchmaker thing he’s doing truly is, and if he was capable of pulling off this seemingly unnecessarily ambitious show.
but, somehow, someway everything managed to fit together. the show was sold out. the poetry was on point. the planned interruptions each provided a bit of levity and humor. w. ellington felton and his band did their thing. there was a ton of twitter and audience interaction, and the panel was a good mix of opinionated, informative, and entertaining people with distinct voices (although, admittedly, we were probably outshone by the women. and by “probably” i mean “definitely, without a doubt“)
although each of the participants contributed to the night’s success, the bulk of the praise should go to paul. seriously, i don’t know if i’ve ever met someone with as much perpetual genuinely positive energy as he has. he’s like a cross between anderson varejao, mike tomlin, johnny carson, and little randy from the first six episodes of season four of “the wire”.
this die-hard skeptic is sold.
2. morehouse moonshine isn’t half bad
before the show began, “matchmakers“ –a somewhat deadly combination of (i think) ginger ale, lime, strawberries, and rum on ice– were freely given to the show’s participants and audience. and, considering the fact that this drink was so subtly strong that three of them could make you tipsy enough to holler at and bag a velvet barstool, its name was definitely apropos.
anyway, after finding out this particular brand of rum (chairman’s reserve) was created by a morehouse college grad, i referred to it as “morehouse moonshine“, a joke maybe 157 times more clever while intoxicated than when i just typed it out.
3. charlotte burley’s a good sport
while behind the curtain and getting ready to be called on stage, i attempted to give dominic a drunken “good luck and shit, man” fist bump, but completely missed my target and punched the matchmaker out of charlotte’s hands.
although i could sense she was tempted to give me a strong “i know this pittsburgh-ass n*gga didn’t just punch the drink out of my hand?” side-eye, she laughed it off, and one of the women working backstage helped me quickly get her another drink. she also invited me to be on her show, so hopefully i won’t drop-kick her purse off her arms the next time i see her.
4. commitment and monogamy are not the same thing
well, at least they aren’t to jj smith, who made this extremely debate-inducing statement when giving her rationale for men not wanting to commit in a traditional sense. to paraphrase: (many) men (rightly) feel like they can be fully committed to someone without being completely monogamous.
5. if hungry (and drunk) enough, i’ll eat anything. a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g
this was proven at the event afterparty, when i (a person who makes sure to let waitresses know to tell the chef to make sure my burgers and steaks are “burnt like ron mexico”) practically swallowed an entire tray of bite sized burgers, even though the meat was the color of the chicago bulls away jerseys.
6. its a small f*cking world
in a one hour span, i found out that j. ellington felton lived in my neighborhood when he was a student at carneige mellon, learned that one of paul’s friends (brian hamlin, seen here as “the activist”) and i worked at the same summer camp when i was still in high school, and met a woman who drove down to the event from pittsburgh, left her first comment on vsb last week, and actually happened to be sitting next to my girl and i at a restaurant in the burgh a week earlier (and received the same shitty service).
with that in mind…
7. everybody assumed i was from d.c. (at least until they heard me speak), except for the people actually from d.c., who assumed i was from new york, chicago, or (no lie) savannah, georgia
8. i definitely need to write down names of people i meet to ensure i’ll correctly hear and remember them
this is especially true when meeting vsb-er’s. i know at least six or seven introduced themselves to me, but the only names i could clearly hear and remember were orangestar616 and natasha. i’d blame it on the alcohol, but, well, there is no but. i’m officially blaming it on the alcohol.
9. nikki nokes is the homie…for reasons i don’t feel comfortable revealing quite yet
10. in hindsight, i probably should have worn one of my verysmartbrothas.com shirts
although liz provided me with business cards to pass out, rocking a vsb tee probably would have done wonders for the “who the hell is this awkward accent ass n*gga in the grey suit, and where the hell is he from?” sentiment probably held by (at least) a third of the audience.
oh well. hopefully they all know now.