Last week, The Washington Post ran an extensive profile of VSB. Below are answers to some questions you might have had about it.
Wait, what? The Washington Post ran a feature on VSB?
When did this happen???
Um, last week. Just like I said.
How come you all didn't say anything about this?
I'm saying something about it right now.
Ok. So how did this come about?
Lavanya Ramanathan (the reporter who wrote the piece) first reached out to us about it in July. After a few weeks of trying to determine when would be the best time for her to interview us — she even suggested spending a day with me in Pittsburgh — we eventually agreed on September 22nd. I'd be in DC then for Luvvie's book tour event. Panama and I met her at the Washington Post's building that afternoon for the photo shoot and some initial interview stuff. She also attended and observed the event that evening. Afterwards, we all went out for drinks and finished the interview.
So this was basically a day-long interview?
Yeah. And considering that I was just on stage for an hour for Luvvie's event — and spent another hour or so taking pictures and shaking hands — I was on fumes by the end of the night. Each one of my answers felt like they oozed out, like a dishwasher leaking water on ceramic tile. Panama, on the other hand, has some sort of gravitational pull with energy. While mine was draining, his was gaining, so he was a much more engaging interview. (He's also generally more engaging than I am.)
Overall, do you believe she captured you all well?
I'd say maybe 10% of the things we said/talked about actually made it into the interview, so she did a great job distilling the important parts down and creating a readable and accurate narrative.
Also, the piece has a great title. Whoever the HNICOT (head nigga in charge of titles) is at the WaPo did a bang up job.
You guys really get two million unique visitors a month?
On good months, yes.
So why do you all still have these off-brand Google ads all over the site? Shouldn't you have, like, some sort of ad network or something?
Because we're essentially a two man operation. (Actually more like one and three-fourths since Panama has a full time job.)
Oh, and we're niggas, so there's that.
So, you have a book deal now?
Yup. Agreed to a two book deal with Ecco (HarperCollins) last month. This was the first public announcement of the deal.
That's exciting and shit! What will the books be about? Collections of VSB-type entries, maybe?
The second book is yet to be determined. The first book, however, is a memoir comprised of a collection of standalone but interconnected essays, and it will feature all new material. And writing that's quite a bit more raw and naked (and scary as fuck for me) than what's on VSB.
Awesome! Anything else you want to add?
In the last two weeks alone, we've had a 1600 word-long profile on us published in one of the world's biggest platforms, I personally received an award for writing really absurd shit about grits, I was invited to a private screening of Fences in New York with Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, and like a dozen of my writing idols, Panama was invited to attend a private screening of the same movie at the NMAAHC this week (Denzel and Viola will also be there), and he received a phone call last week that literally trumps everything that has ever happened to either of us.
Now, I'm not saying this to brag. I'm saying it because its still fucking surreal. Especially when considering how we started. Of course, none of this could have been made possible without our amazing community here — plus our collective extended network of family, friends, and fans — and we're beyond thankful of and humbled by that support.
Also, Panama and I have thought long and hard about VSB's direction going forward. Of particular concern was how Trump's election would affect us and our platform. We launched when Barack Obama was running for President. Our lifespan matches his term. And his prominence has had an undeniable spiritual and psychological effect on us and other spaces like ours. This considered, I couldn't help but wonder if we'd be as relevant come 2017. But those anxieties eventually gave away to the truth. In a country that promises to be even less friendly to us in the coming years than it has been in the years before, VSB — and the community that both cultivates us and is cultivates by us — is perhaps even more vital now. We aint going anywhere, and I hope y'all aint either.