Theory & Essay

VSB 5-Year Anniversary Week: Ask A Very Smart Brotha

vsb2On March 31, 2008, Damon “The Champ” Young posted the first ever VSB entry. It was entitled, “emotional cheating. the ultimate oxymoron”. In this post, he used the movie Closer as his background for a discussion of how *drumroll please* emotional cheating was the ultimate oxymoron.

Champ has always been good with the pointed titles.

That was the beginning of the long ride and journey that has become Very Smart Brothas. Something that started via an IM-convo between myself and Damon, then myself and Liz, turned into a site that became more than I think any of us expected. We’ve had some significant ups-and-downs, hell life ain’t nothin’ but an EQ of highs and lows, ya know, but I don’t know that any of us thought back then that VSB would still be around and/or be relevant.

Hell, the whole point of the site was just to be a placeholder while we got this whole book thang together. But we built it, cultivated it, watered it and watched it grow. And this Saturday, we’re celebrating our 5-year anniversary in DC, our de facto hub, with any and everybody who choses to come out and hang with us. We’ve done a lot since this site started. Please see our “Buzz” section. It even impressed me and its not even fully updated.

Well, as we celebrate this week leading up to our party, and having officially passed our 5-year mark on Easter Sunday we figured that it only makes sense to make this week (or at least the rest of it) VSB-centric.

It’s been 5-years and I don’t know that we’ve ever done this though Champ had one hellafied run on Formspring.

So we’re opening up the floor to answer any and all questions (as long as they don’t get TOOOOOO personal or ridiculous) anybody has for Damon or I. You can add questions for Liz but we didn’t ask her if she’d participate and she may or may not even read this post. Liz is finicky like that at times.

Hey, Liz.

NEW WRITTENS.

So thanks for tuning it and sleepwalking and if you have any questions for the VSB family you’ve either always wanted to know or just came up with because you read this post and realized that, well, there’s nothing else to comment on for real…gon’ head and toss it in the comments.

We’ll do our best to answer them either in the comments or maybe make a post out of them on Wednesday!

Already.

-VSB P

And if you are going to be in DC and haven’t done so yet, make sure you RSVP to get in FREE to REMINISCE before 11pm ($10 after): http://reminiscedc.eventbrite.com

Damon Young

Panama Jackson is pretty fly for a light guy. When he's not saving humanity with his words or making music with his mouth, you can find him at your mama's mama's house drinking her fine liquors. He believes the children are our future and is waiting to find out if he is the 2nd most interesting man in the world.

  • veryaveragebrotha

    P,
    Apart from (or before if you’ve gone full time like Damon) the writing, what is/was your day job?

    • nillalatte

      I always pictured PJ for one of those No Such Agencies in the DC area. Don’t know why, just did.

      • nillalatte

        *working for…

        • Dignan

          PJ? He’s in the import/export business. Mainly pharmaceuticals.

        • http://www.twitter.com/Bmorebmw Tentpole

          You can find out this Saturday

        • http://opinionatedmale.com Medium Meech

          I’m pretty sure he works for Vandelay Industries.

    • IcePrincess3

      Ooh that’s a good one, I’ve wondered that myself.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      I work for one of those agencies with lots of letters in it doing things that nobody quite knows for people who don’t really understand.

    • Brother Mouzone

      He worked at the same place as Tommy from Martin..lol

      • http://pinchmycheekie.wordpress.com Cheekie

        LMAO

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        pretty much yes.

  • http://www.blacklatinafabulous.com Maris

    Craziest advice question. Anyone ask you about unrequited feelings for a pet or something?

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      Nothing super crazy that I can remember off the top of my head, but I have had a few questions where the answers were so obvious (and the situations were so “WTF?”-inducing) that I thought I was being trolled.

      ie: “So, I caught my boyfriend in bed with my uncle. He’s a really nice guy though—and my uncle is really cute so wanting to sleep with him is understandable—and I want to try and work past this. What should I do?”

      • nillalatte

        I just heard a clip being loaded in my head when I read that. Phew laws!

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

          Lol.

      • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

        That situation is ridiculous. I wish there was a Jesus Take The Wheel service where you could refer people to spiritual and/or psychological counseling. LOL

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      If you want to see some crazy advice you should check out my page over on Guyspeak.com. There is some crazy advice. We’ve actually received some INSANE questions for advice in our inbox. There have been times that Champ and I will be like, “dude, what the hell do you even say to this person”.

      But most folks ask us not to publish their questions so we don’t.

    • SweetSass

      anyone who loves their cat is in an unrequited relationship

  • http://lizburr.com Liz

    Ha. I guess I’m game to answer questions. Glad I’m paying attention this week!

    • nillalatte

      Would u ever be so inclined to date a commenter u met through VSB? But, if u didn’t hit it off how do u think it would effect the community? Would u let folks disect the what if’s or ban the brotha? :D

      • http://lizburr.com Liz

        LMAO. There was prolly a time where I entertained the thought of dating a commenter. But seeing as how my dating life is going, it would probably be highly unlikely.

        If I did, and it didn’t work out I’d prolly just sweep it under the rug like P and Champ do all the time (*shots fired*). LOL.

        • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

          So you’re saying there’s a chance…

          • Sweet GA Brown

            *passes Tristan a tall glass of water

            • Rewind

              I think you might a whole Poland Spring shipping truck for this one.

          • h.h.h.

            “So you’re saying there’s a chance…”

            i peeped that too…

            #BirdmanHandrub

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

        “Would u ever be so inclined to date a commenter u met through VSB?”

        ***pleading fif***

        • http://lizburr.com Liz

          I see what you did there.

          • nillalatte

            So my interpretation is about five. ;) now we know the real reason for VSB… bootay .. y’all ain’t fooling nobody. :P

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        I actually did date for a while somebody I met thru VSB.

        • camilleblu

          you seem like you would date someone, wake up one day and be like – *ion like the way she breaves* – and then just be audi5000 on a chick…

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            wait…wha???????????????????????????

    • Rewind

      Has anything ever happened on VSB that made you roll your eyes in the back of your head and say “am I really f*cking doing this right now”?

      • http://lizburr.com Liz

        LMAo plenty of times! So many I can’t even remember any specific ones lol. Most times it involves PJ and Champ tho.

        • Rewind

          Something tells me you’re the voice of reason offline, probably yelling at them like an angry school teacher from 1962.

          • http://lizburr.com Liz

            LMAO. I can neither confirm nor deny the accuracy of this comment.

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

              She can’t confirm or deny it b/c its not true.

            • Rewind

              Success! All that’s left for the rest of the details is loud music and liquor.

              Somebody ask these questions on Saturday when Liz is saucy and Panama is doing the Old Man Two-Step against a woman doing the Tootsie Roll!

    • Brother Mouzone

      Have any of you ever taken personal something someone said in their comment and e-punished them for it?

      • http://lizburr.com Liz

        Naw.

  • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

    Happy anniversary, Liz, PJ, Champ!

    • http://lizburr.com Liz

      thx :)

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      thanks and shit

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      preciate it.

  • nillalatte

    What is the next level/vision for VSB? Where do u guys want to see this go & why? Why do u think ppl cling to this blog- writting style, content, ability to act foolish while discussing relavant topics… unless. (& including) intellectual hip hop. ;)

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      those arent exactly soup questions

      • nillalatte

        The business person surfaced in me… I don’t know shyt about bloging or the biz there of… but I’m always interested in vision’s of entrepreneurs. Skip it if u like. It’s all good.

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

          well, we’re each still trying to figure out the answers to your first two questions. I will say, though, that there are a few things in the works that are either currently happening (ie: the tv pilot, another book) or have already happened (ie: a content partnership with the root that we just agreed to last week) that will definitely factor into the direction(s) we take.

          as far as your last question, I think we’ve been able to attract and cultivate the type of readership that we have because of five factors

          1. our content seems to have a good balance between silly and serious. there just aren’t too many blogs you can read that’ll have a piece about “rick ross and rape culture” one day and “top ten things bougie black chicks hate about lebron’s hairline” the next. and, panama and i’s personalities and writing styles are different/unique enough to draw different types of people to vsb.

          2. we have been mind-numbingly consistent. people know that you can count on us to have a new entry up every night at midnight (or, when I’m posting, like 12:47). this allows people to make us a part of their daily/nightly routine.

          3. i think you all trust us. you might not agree with everything each of us says, but you trust that it’s coming from an honest, thought-out, and (relatively) agenda-less place. we each have our (obvious) limitations, but we’re real. a big part of that is due to the fact that we’ve always maintained that we’re just regular guys—guys who could easily be your coworker, cousin, brother, or ex-boyfriend—who just happen to have a blog.

          another thing that can’t be dismissed in regard to the trust is that we’re active parts of the community here. I’ve left the most comments out of anyone on VSB (it’s not even close, actually) and Panama is second. i think us being here responding to comments as best as we can—even when the numbers get close to 1000—shows that we do truly appreciate them, and yall seem to appreciate this appreciation.

          (also, you know what we look like, where we’re from, etc—basically, you KNOW that we’re real people—and I think that matters as well)

          4. we don’t dumb things down much here. while the subject matter might occasionally be “stupid,” this discourse it cultivates is usually smart. basically, vsb is for grown-ups, and grown-ups like grown-up shit.

          to wit, there are places on the internet—some much more popular than vsb—where you can’t disagree with the hosts unless you want to get banned. here, as long as you keep it (somewhat) civil and don’t make it too personal, you can say whatever the f*ck you want. you can be yourself here.

          5. the uniqueness of the community basically breeds itself. people know that the readers and regulars here a going to be a little smarter, a little more rational, a little more reasonable, a little funnier, and a little more honest than the regulars at most other blogs, and people come for that just as much (if not more) than they come for us

          • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

            Do the three of you have any reservations regarding having a partnership with a mainstream site like The Root, since it’s not a Black owned site?

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

              “Do the three of you have any reservations regarding having a partnership with a mainstream site like The Root, since it’s not a Black owned site?”

              can’t speak for p and liz, but i definitely don’t

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

              I don’t have any reservations either.

          • IcePrincess3

            Champ, I luv you to death, but you are fronting hard & I can’t letchu slide! 12:47? Hardly! More like 1:47 rotflmao. Tell me I’m lying….

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

              you lyin

          • LMNOP

            All of this is very true.

            I thought of a question when I read this- “you can say whatever the f*ck you want”

            Why can’t we cuss?

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

              we want people to be able to read us at work, and blogs that have a ton of cuss words in them get blocked by some companies

              • Kema

                I definitely appreciate this!

              • http://twitter.com/SoulaPowa SoulaPowa

                TRUUUUUUUE!

                Good looking out for the corporate VSBs/VSSs.

          • mena

            Your point 4.5 on disagreeing with you guys and being banned is so true. Honestly, this is one of the things I really love about your site. I feel like for the most part, we can disagree with you and Panama and y’all don’t come for our throats. I stopped reading this one site bc the author was so use to people being up his behind in agreeing with him, that he would attack you and your comments. I also noticed the way he spoke to other commenters on his FB page and past articles. Sad really.

          • http://www.twitter.com/IluminatiNYC Todd

            Is point #4 a shot at a blogger with the initials TNC? ;)

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

              not sure why that could be considered a shot at him

          • http://pinchmycheekie.wordpress.com Cheekie

            The point about you and P literally having the most comments truly made me awwwww. Your appreciation is totally appreciated.

            • YeahSo

              yeah that was touching and sh*t

          • Rewind

            Yall bring an air of comfort on this blog. Its not even about saying what you want, its more about being open to learning something new. Yall have no problem reading our comments and saying “oh, that’s an interesting way to look at it”, which means you don’t live on a pedestal. That’s greatly appreciated.

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

              liz is on the pedestal

              • http://lizburr.com Liz

                LMAO shut up!

              • Rewind

                Real talk.

                Liz is like the Nick Fury of VSB, always watching but never around for anyone to see until the very last second, like a ninja.

                • http://lizburr.com Liz

                  Again with the accurate liz assessment!

                  • Rewind

                    I promise you I am not stalking you!

          • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

            this was pretty astute there bucko. We should put this on our “about VSB” page.

  • msdebbs

    How did you and Champ and Liz meet?

    • http://lizburr.com Liz

      The internets. We all had personal blogs of our own. I think Champ was the first to have his own blog. I found his blog after I opened mine back in 2002. Then P found my blog one day (or Champ’s, not sure which one he found first). After talking to PJ a lot on AIM I helped him set up his own blog in 2004.

      • msdebbs

        Thanks and congrats!

      • LMNOP

        Wow. In 2002 I literally had never heard the word blog.

        • http://lizburr.com Liz

          yeah we ain’t new to this. lol.

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        I found your blog before I found Champ’s. I think I found Damon’s blog through Huny’s blog who I think I found through your blog.

  • http://www.wddij.com The Ruthless Wonder

    Congrats on the success. I’ll save my hardcore questions for that video conference coming up, but I was wondering what the craziest negative email is that you guys have gotten? Not the usual issues. Something so off the wall that you had to at least be impressed by the novelty.

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      we don’t usually get super crazy/negative emails. weird? yes. stalkerish? definitely. super negative? i honestly can’t remember any

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      I never got a crazy negative email. But I did have somebody attempt to delete my on-line life after a post i wrote in 2009. They deleted my MySpace, Twitter, Yahoo, and Gmail accounts. That’s when I learned how easy it is to hack into somebody’s entire life if you have at least one entry point. In other words, diversify your passwords.

      • YeahSo

        Dammmmmmmnnn… what did you? Like, did you kill em?

        • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

          naw. but i got all my sites and stuff back which i know pissed them off b/c they continued trying to hack into my accounts.

      • Sweet GA Brown

        And what article would that be?

  • Dignan

    Have you guys ever had a couple meet up through the comment section and it ended up becoming a serious relationship?

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      Man, there are VSB babies, couples, engagements, etc. Even had a regular recently reveal that she met her current boyfriend through VSB, and this boyfriend is White. Apparently, White men like Very Smart Brothas too

      • msdebbs

        ” White men like Very Smart Brothas too”

        Whaaattt?? Thats interesting.

        • http://stanoffewwords.wordpress.com Tristan

          White guys love black humor

          • Brother Mouzone

            What better place to find a sista if you’re a white guy than VSB? …see yesterdays post.

            • Brother Mouzone

              I meant Mondays post…

              • YeahSo

                What’s the difference?

      • Dignan

        The hell you say!

        • LMNOP

          lol. Only the very smart ones.

        • Sweet GA Brown

          He didnt mean it like that.

        • Rewind

          You can’t win. Those men are White bread without the crust. They dare to be square.

      • http://www.awordorthree.com Crystal Marie

        Wait… is you talking bout me Willis??

        Hahaha. Loves it!

        - Crystal Marie, aka a Regular Who Met Her White Boyfriend Via VSB and Bought Him a VSB Crewneck Sweatshirt

        • YeahSo

          No offense but I grew in the south and there’s something about a white man walking aroung in a “very smart brothas” sweatshirt makes me really nervous… Has he worn it out yet? yikes

          • Dignan

            I wouldn’t want to wear that sweatshirt out here in Portland either, for a very different reason — the percentage of white folks in this town who are highly politically correct. I think I would actually have better luck wearing the shirt in our black neighborhood, assuming that I could find it without using a microscope.

            No offense intended to Champ, Peej or Liz. Or, hell, anybody.

            • camilleblu

              lol…i’m mad that you said “our black neighborhood” – singular…

              • Dignan

                There’s only about 40,000 black folks here, Blu. And they’re kinda spread out. There’s not a single neighborhood that’s all-black, or even 80% black.

                Even pre-gentrification, all of the black neighborhoods here were overrun with hordes of white people.

            • http://www.awordorthree.com Crystal Marie

              Funny story… he lives in Portland.

    • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1?feature=mhee Perverted Alchemist

      “Have you guys ever had a couple meet up through the comment section and it ended up becoming a serious relationship?”

      I’ll be surprised if this even happens. Sounds a little…you know…

      • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

        Like Champ said, it’s happened plenty. It’s currently happening.

        • http://www.youtube.com/user/pervertedalchemist1?feature=mhee Perverted Alchemist

          Well….that was amusing…

  • The Other Jerome

    Happy Anniversary!

    I have a simple question: What is the meaning of life?

    • YeahSo

      lol

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

      why is the sky blue, why is water wet…

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      No clue, but I hear that life is like a box of chocolates.

    • Kema

      The answer is… 42

      • http://twitter.com/SoulaPowa SoulaPowa

        Beat me to it Kema. Well done.

      • h.h.h.

        She Be knowing. *salute* #DontPanic

  • IcePrincess3

    How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?

    • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

      Hiya, IP!

      *waves*

      :-)

      • IcePrincess3

        Wudup Ms. Val!

    • nillalatte

      Ice u been hiding out & that’s the best question you can garner? U could at least bring refreshments! *sets up the arghile with shisha… sits back & chills* & I’m gooooood

      • IcePrincess3

        Lol! U rite, nilla. Soon as I hit “send” I was like “wow, that was lame!” But I had ate a Percocet a lil while ago, so I’m a lil loopy. I do come bearing snacks tho, since u asked so nicely. We got my homemade hot spinach & artichoke dip, plus assorted Publix sushi, Philly cheesesteak sliders, & a case of Vueve to wash it all down! *pops champagne* Here’s to 5 more years!

        • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

          *grabs a slider, goes to sit in corner*

          • IcePrincess3

            Na, ain’t no sitting in the corner!! Getcho azz on the dance floor! And ima make Champ & WC dance with each other too, so they can put that old misunderstanding to rest :-)

            • http://commentarybyvalentina.wordpress.com/ Val

              “And ima make Champ & WC dance with each other…”

              I would definitely get on the dance floor to see that. Lol

            • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

              we had a misunderstanding?

            • Wild Cougar

              Champ can’t dance. I, on the other hand can dance. It might look goofy as fcuk, but I can.

              • http://verysmartbrothas.com The Champ

                this is true. my “dancing” involves me taking a half step to the right, a half step to the left, and repeating this until the song ends

              • Tx10inch

                WC, will u be at the meet this week?

                • Wild Cougar

                  Yass

              • Rewind

                Someone BETTER RECORD THIS!

        • Rewind

          Philly cheesesteak sliders?

          You want me to just propose right now don’t you?

        • Kema

          Ohhh! I love spinach & artichoke dip. But I’m going gluten free. *brings rice crackers*

    • http://verysmartbrothas.com Panama Jackson

      Cole, you stupid.

    • h.h.h.

      A woodchuck would chuck all the wood he could if a woodchuck could chuck wood.