From Obama vs. Clinton to Halle Berry’s amazingly toned post baby body, The State of… covers a wide range of topics in a way that encourages an open forum to discuss current events that we would probably be talking about amongst ourselves anyway! We reached out to the gentleman bloggers behind the site to get the story on one of our must-read-everyday sites.
Justin & Richard: www.thestateof.com
Q: Please introduce yourself!
Justin Sanders is an attorney in Los Angeles. Richard Watkins is an attorney in Chicago. Both of us went to Morehouse College in Atlanta.
Q: When and why did you decide to launch “The State Of . . . “?
TSO was launched in October 2004. We decided to design a place where thoughtful African Americans could discuss serious issues, and sometimes have a little fun. We wanted to compete with the larger, corporate media that we believe is poisoning America, so we designed our own “media.”
Q: How did you come of with the name?
Rich always had an idea of running a media company named, “The State Of.” It was just in his mind.
Q: For those not familiar with the site, please tell us what topics and features you cover?
Politics, social issues, relationships, sexuality, religion, music, family, war (we are very anti-war). Rich and I come from different perspectives on some things, which makes it interesting and lively. We want to destroy what you thought was right.
Q: What was your most popular post?
If you rank the posts by the number of comments submitted, the most popular post was about R. Kelly’s alleged treatment of younger women. Many of our readers felt that Mr. Kelly is a sick man; others felt that the young ladies in question were responsible for their own actions. It brought out issues of sexuality, age, consent, legal rights, abortion, men and women, marriage, homosexuality and many more. It was very thoughtful.
Q: What blogs and websites can we find you stalking?
Blackandmarriedwithkids, DenmarkVesey.blogspot.com, theroot.com, drudgereport.com, politico.com, antiwar.com, counterpunch.com, GruntledCenter.blogspot.com, LewRockwell.com
Q: Do you have a blog/website that someone would be shocked or tickled that you visited?
Oh yeah, but that would get me in trouble! I like to read conspiracy theory sites. I like Jeffrense.com.
Q: Politics Time! Do you think that Barack Obama has a chance to actually receive the Democratic Presidential nominee and go on to win the White House? If not, what do you think will be the reasoning?
Barack Obama will be sworn in as President of the United States on January 20, 2009 because he is a leader like no other I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. I’m confident he’s going to win, and I always have been. I never understood the thinking that he didn’t have a “chance.” The only thing holding most black people back is negative thinking.
Q: Are you a Clinton or Obama man?
Barack The Vote. I can’t stand Godzillary.
Q: How do you feel about Sean Hannity and his on-air attack on Reverend Wright?
Sean Hannity does what he’s paid to do – generate controversy and entertain uninformed people. This is the media environment we live in – one in which corporate conglomerates seek to hold the attention of viewers through 24-hour “news” broadcasts. As a presidential candidate, Mr. Obama is forced to deal with this type of attack, and I believe he’s handled it exceedingly well.
Q: What is your opinion on the whole Tavis and Obama situation?
Sometimes, jealousy can creep into the mind of anyone, particularly leaders. Adam Clayton Powell and Roy Wilkins were jealous of Martin Luther King. The rapper Nas says that “the best are supposed to clash at the top,” and I believe that to be true. However, I think Tavis mistakenly views Obama as a competitor, rather than a brother – or even just a politician. Tavis has shown his true colors and lost all credibility with me and nearly everyone I know. It’s OK to criticize Obama, but he went over the top. When you are sponsored by multi-national companies as Tavis is, you lose sight of a lot of things. Tavis lost his ghetto pass.
Q: As a culture enthusiast, what personal issues do you have with African Americans in America?
The primary issue facing the black community is the structure of the family. Black men need to take pride in marriage and fatherhood and everything else will take care of itself. Black men need to lead their families.
Q: You are quite popular! In your opinion, what has been your biggest achievement or accolade received since you started “The State Of…”?
It makes me feel good to think that TSO has encouraged some people to look at relationships, heterosexuality, love and family in a different, more traditional way. We have converted fire-breathing feminists into loving wives and mothers. People have told me that our anti-divorce positions have made them work harder on their marriages. Many middle-class blacks are influenced to believe that children and marriage are a “burden.” We promote the view that marriage and children are natural parts of life and the natural desire of heterosexuals. In particular, we put pressure on men to embrace masculinity and women to embrace femininity. Together, man and woman is like yin and yang – One.
Q: Do you have a post that you regretted posting? If so, what was it and why?
I’ve regretted certain posts in which I’ve criticized woman for working outside of the home.
Q: What “state” do you think America is in? How about Black people?
America is an empire on the cold side of the mountain. In our individual quests for monetary gain, we have lost touch with what really makes us happy: God, family and friends. Economically, I see the middle class slipping lower because of the lack of good education and parents more concerned with corporate “success” than their children. Black America has followed suit. The breakdown of the black family is a monstrosity of epic proportions. Black men have lost all connections to masculinity and black women are left to blow in the wind, alone. Economically, blacks need to embrace an entrepreneurial spirit and stop having “jobs” working for others.
Q: What’s next for you and “The State Of…”?
We just redesigned the site to make it more user-friendly and we intend to do more interviews and magazine articles. Even though TSO is not a business, we try to treat it like one in the sense that we want to continually grow and compete. We’d like to get more readers from other parts of the country, particularly the Northeast. As it stands now, we are strong on the West Coast, the South and Midwest.
Q: In five words describe your blog?
Incisive, challenging, loving, collective, bold.
Q: Lastly, why should someone add “The State Of…” to their daily reading list?
TSO is the smartest website on the internet. TSO is the only site on the internet where black men and women can come together and discuss the critical issues of the day – without insults – and be challenged to think differently. TSO is not for the close-minded.