Ladies could always used some very smart brothas in their lives. They are needed. They are wanted. They are…here. Born out of many hearings with women about their relationship imbroglios, The Champ and Panama have decided to take their brand of wisdom and disseminate it into an award-winning blog. Clutch had the pleasure of hearing from the players themselves in this entertaining exchange.
Champ & Panama: verysmartbrothas.com
Clutch: Where did you get the idea to start Very Smart Brothas and when did it come into existence?
The Champ: Panama and I have been friends and fans of each other’s writing for a few years now. Throughout that time, it seems like we’ve both always been the go-to person for our respective friends in regards to relationship and/or dating advice. A couple years ago, we decided to create a relationship themed book by gathering the best relationship topics from our personal blogs and compiling them into one. Because of our laziness, this project hit the back burner for a year or so. In early 2008 though, we (along with our Managing Editor, Lizz Burr) decided to try and create a website that dealt with many of the topics and themes we explore in the book. Our first entry ran the first week of April.
Clutch: The tone of the blog is informative and funny, yet it feels like the reader is talking to a good friend. How do you keep that balance?
The Champ: We are well-read, funny, and friendly people, so being informative, funny, and friendly isn’t that much of a stretch. Seriously though, we’re just two guys who are able to provide a bit of wisdom, insight, and humor in regards to the trials and tribulations of dating and/or relationships. We’re not caricatures. You’re not going to come on VSB and read useless drivel about how to be a pimp or player, but at the same time, you’re not going to get any half-wit, effeminate, whining about “why black women want thugs” or any bulls— like that, and I think our readers appreciate that. Basically, we keep this balance by being ourselves.
Panama: I think it’s also because of how interactive the site is. It pretty much IS a full out discussion with your friend. We spend all day in the comments sections to respond directly to questions folks have about what we’ve written. Which means people can call us on our BS statements, which they do, often. Lucky for us, we’re right, even when we’re not.
Clutch: For people who are new to your blog, how would you describe your blog in three words?
The Champ: How about a haiku?
Panama and Champ
Sexy, daily. Wisdom too
Steelers all the way!!!
Panama: The Champ’s haiku pretty much said it all (and forget the Steelers, hail to the Redskins…who just.lost.to.the.Cincinatti.Bengals. Never mind the Redskins. Go Steelers.), but three words that I think of are love, peace, and soooooooooooooooul. Or at least while Don Cornelius has legal problems.
Clutch: What goals or purposes do you want the blog to achieve?
The Champ: Personally, we hope that the blog is able to give us a solid fan base for our other projects globally, both P and I feel that “well-informed and practical” people equals “good relationships”, “good relationships” equal “happy people”, and “happy people” equals “less crime.” Basically, we’re trying to fight crime.
Clutch: Congrats on the 2009 Black Web Award for Best Blog. What major milestones do you feel the blog has reached?
The Champ: Thanks for the congrats. Honestly, I don’t know about milestones, but I don’t know if there’s another black male ran relationship themed blog that’s doing what we’re doing right now, especially when you consider that most of our traffic is from word-of-mouth. We’re not backed by any conglomerates, we haven’t spammed on any more popular blogs, and we haven’t begged anyone for a link exchange, and I’m proud of the fact that we were able to become relevant without having to do any of that stuff.
Clutch: How will your blog change the perception of what blogs are about?
The Champ: I think we’ve been able to show that a couple black guys can run a relationship blog without being bitches or blatantly disrespecting women. I also think we’re helping to show that we (black males) don’t have to be caricatures or archetypes’ to be successful.
Clutch: From the start of the blog to now, how do you feel your blog has grown?
The Champ: Along with the growth in traffic, we’ve become a bit of a social-networking venue, as VSB-er’s across the country have organized happy hours and other outings with each other. We also have consistent commentators from London, Johannesburg, Sydney, and many other foreign cities, and it honestly amazes me that people in Africa and Europe are reading sh– that I’m writing on my little Dell PC in Pittsburgh, PA. Also, from a writing standpoint, we’ve started to branch out a bit more with our topics. Although we still focus on relationships, we also have entries on race, politics, music, and other fresh and relevant issues.
Clutch: What has been the biggest challenge you have faced with your blog?
The Champ: Making sure I don’t repeat topics, which is a bit more challenging that I assumed it would be.
Panama: Remaining fresh…you’d think there were a million things to talk about when it comes to relationships but really, there are like four: love, sex, cheating, and the difference between men and women. That’s it. Period. All she wrote. Nothing more. Nevermore.
Clutch: If your blog could make one general statement, what would you want it say?
The Champ: Pay attention and lighten the f— up (laughing). You’ll be much happier if you’re able to do both of these things.
Clutch: Who do you hope to reach with your blog?
The Champ: Everyone. Although our name is Very Smart Brothas, there’s relevant information for all demographics. Even midgets get love on VSB.