A Summary Of VSB's Very Good But Not Quite As Good As We Want It To Be Yet Year


Happy New Year and shit, everyone! If you're reading this, you've made it to 2016 (congrats!) and you've decided, for whatever reason, to spend at least one second of this year reading VSB. So thanks for that. Since you're here, I might as well let you know that 2015 was, by every measure, the best year in VSB's history. So thanks for that too.


And, since no year-end recap is complete without a highlights package, here's ours.

Some Stats and Shit

2015 was the biggest year VSB has ever had, quadrupling 2014's traffic. Which is kinda crazy because, before 2015, 2014 was our biggest year. And 2014 quadrupled 2013's traffic.

Anyway, below are 2015's five most read pieces, and the number of unique visitors each piece generated. (These also happen to be the five most read VSB pieces ever.)

Exclusive: A Leaked Email Exchange Between Drake And Meek Mill From Last Night (794,715)

President Obama’s “Folks Wanna Pop Off” Is The Blackest Thing That Ever Happened This Week (537,622)

Foods Your Bitch Ass Better Not Bring To A Memorial Day Cookout (318,653)

10 Non-Singing Ass Singers That People Swear Can Sing (204,106)

Serena Williams Drinks, Bathes In, And Makes Lemonade With White Tears (174,245)

Over all, we published 540 different pieces from 39 different authors. Considering that we very rarely publish on the weekend, that's a little over two pieces a day. Which is…okay. This time next year I'd like to be at 10. Still the 39 number is something I'm very proud of, because I want VSB to be a place that provides a platform for Black writers to be, for lack of a better term, free. And Black. And whatever it means to be free and Black. And I believe we do that better than any other space on the internet.


Anyway, of these 39, we had 11 people publish five or more pieces in 2015 (Agatha Guilluame, Alex Hardy, Brandon Harrison, Dustin Seibert, Jozen Cummings, Michael Harriot, Natalie Degraffinried, Shamira Ibrahim, Tonja Stidhum, and, of course, Panama Jackson, and Damon Young).

Below are my favorite 2015 pieces from each writer.

Agatha: Ask Agatha: Regretful Threesomes And Why Men Should Never, Ever, Ever Take Selfies


Alex: I Went To A Screening Of 'Underground' In Memphis And Here Is What I Ate

Brandon: A Case For Why Turkey Is A Trash Meat We Should Never Eat Again

Dustin: This Generation's R&B Music is Asswater. Stop Paying For It

Jozen: Why I Want T-Pain To Sing At My Wedding

Michael Harriot: The 10 Commandments Of The One Night Stand

Natalie: Six Foolproof And Effective Things To Do To Bring Atheists Back To The Lord


Shamira: Idris Elba Deserves To Be James Bond, Because They Both Have Fuckboy Tendencies

Tonja: I Came, I Saw, I Conquered Caribana

Panama: Dear Damon, Here's Some Advice On Your Impending Parenthood

Damon: A Primer On The Use, Usage, Versatility, And Utility Of “Nigga” and Life As One Of The Last People On Kanye West Island (I'm sorry, but I couldn't narrow it to one. If you have a problem with this, I'm the one creating and curating this list, so deal with it.)


Some Notable VSB-Related Accomplishments and Shit

1. Although both Panama and I have each done numerous VSB-related panels, the Harvard Black Law Students Association’s Spring Conference Black Media Matters panel was the first time we've been on one together.


2. BET invited me to their studios in New York City to do a video piece on the difference between being "New Black" and "Just Black." (Hint: It's the exact same thing.) While in the city, I stopped by Jezebel's offices to do another video piece on practically the same thing. It was a very New Black month.

3. In August, I was invited back to New York to appear on Melissa Harris Perry to talk about Drake, Meek Mill, and mooching wifi.


4. Panama scored a partnership with TV One, helping the network promote "Born Again Virgin."

5. VSB and The Root agreed to a content sharing partnership. (We never officially announced it, but it has been going on since October.)


6. The Colored Section, a monthly VSB-esque column in EBONY Magazine, debuted.


7. VSB partnered with Tees in the Trap, who helped us sell like 33274329435 Bougie Black t-shirts.

8. 1839 launched.

On behalf of the entire VSB team, I want to thank you all again for helping our 2015 be such a productive one. Let's make 2016 even better!

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)



While I didn't send in a list of favorite posts from each contributor - which I probably should do or at least email folks about it privately - I would like to send a special thank you out to each and every person who ventures here in whatever capacity they do.

VSB is a special place because of everybody that comes thru. We've been fortunate enough to get these great opportunities because we're talented as writers (if you hate my writing, that's cool, but sheeeeeeeeeerup at this time) but also because of the visibility we've managed to achieve largely in part to how active our community is in making sure we're visible. And it is appreciated.

We also have a great group of contributors to VSB. Whether its been once or 20 times, one of my favorite aspects of VSB is the ability to give other great writers the freedom to write what it is they want. That freedom is one of the most frequent refrains we get from people, some who've published in every single publication you've read…their desire to be able to write whatever the hell they want without too much regard for the corporate side of the building. This has been both a great advantage and possibly cost us SOME visibility at times. That and our infamous potty mouths. Actually, I should say Damon's potty mouth. I curse in posts. He likes to curse in titles. Little known VSB fact: we actually had a meeting many moons ago about whether or not we should cut back on the curse words to see if it had an impact. I think we cut back on the language for a bit, and I think it had an impact, and I think we unknowingly abandoned that experiment because we just like to curse. And use the n-word.

VSB is a grind. The fact that we're going to hit our 8-year anniversary in March (though we like to act like it's April) is an amazing feat considering that the vast majority of our history has been Damon and I writing every day for years. Having others come on-board and do some of that lifting has been a god send. Writing daily ain't no joke, b. We grind hard, and its why I wonder when people like Luvvie (who has to be the hardest working person in this game) sleep. But we have managed to do it and I'm proud of us. And I'm proud of Damon for taking his game to the next level this past year. Damon decided he wanted to be one of the big boys and he's well on his way.

While I think Damon is both overly ambitious and possibly insane for wanting us to post 10 things a day within the next year, I appreciate the goal of it. It's good to aspire. VSB has been one of those places that's been as much of a learning experience as anything for both of us. A significant number of opportunities that come our way are things we didn't even think existed. If even one of those opportunities truly manifests itself this year - and a few have a good chance to do so - you will know what I mean. I'm speaking in code but we have some very interesting, entertaining, and word? opportunities on the table right now that we both laugh at at times. But we're working just as hard behind the scenes on moving forward.

No talk of 2015 could be complete without mention of our own personal "successes". I put that in quotes because I don't know if you're supposed to counts kids as a success or not. But both Damon and I had kids this year; me a little boy and he a little girl. And that's cute.

2016 will be the same because come May, I will have tripled myself. And effectively contributed more to the world than I ever expected. And it's another boy so I totally won. Clap for me.

To 2016.