VerySmartBrothas: From Blog to Book to TV

Panama Jackson on Weekly with Ed Gordon
Panama Jackson is the headlining guest on “Weekly with Ed Gordon” on BET. He’s talking about the book, "Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm at Night.”

So. This happened.

It’s all been happening kinda fast, but if you didn’t know, we (meaning VerySmartBrothas.com) released a book a few weeks ago, called Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm at Night: the Very Smart Brothas Guide to Dating, Mating and Fighting Crime. Panama Jackson and Damon Young (fellow co-founders and generally awesome writers of the blog) wrote this book three years ago, and one day asked me to help them set up and run a site/blog that would be a companion for the book. We’ve been rockin with the blog for a minute now and they finally released the self-published book early last month.

I have been touch and go with the book promo. To be honest, the book was suddenly ready and Damon kinda wanted to hurry up and get the book out for public consumption. I’m seemingly never ready to do anything (I like to wait for the proverbial “perfect time” that never happens), but we released the book (self-published on Amazon.com) without any real publicity plan (I’ve been super busy).

Anyway. A week or so passes, we get some press on TheRoot.com, a few book reviews here and there on some blogs. We top a chart or two on Amazon.com. And then some national press starts knocking on our door. Or, our e-mail inbox. We have a piece running in a national newspaper soon (fingers crossed). BET’s Weekly with Ed Gordon invited us to be on their relationships episode, and they asked us to be the headlining one-on-one segment (which is why PJ is there alone, without Damon). We have a satellite radio interview coming up soon, as well. All because of our talent as a team, great writing by the guys, some social media and branding mojo and a supportive community.

This has been interesting, to say the least. We don’t have agents. We don’t have publicists. We typically are poor at networking with other bloggers. We barely find the time to publicize ourselves (outside of Facebook, Twitter, and most recently, Tumblr). But it’s been cool to see how far this book and our message can reach people, with just a blog and a self-published book. I don’t want to say we didn’t try to make this happen, but we really are winging it at this point. Thankfully, some cool opportunities have been coming our way.

I spent today with Panama at the taping of the Ed Gordon show. It was pretty fun. Sure, this isn’t NBC Nightly News or anything, but…my best friend is on TV! For a project that we (us + Damon) have worked on for the last three years. I am pretty happy and amazed. And proud.

We haven’t been told when the episode will air yet, but the show airs on Sunday nights on BET. I watched the whole thing from the dressing room and thought P did a bang up job. We heard the producers were cracking up in the control room during his interview, and I could tell afterwards that the show’s staff really took his tongue-in-cheek relationships advice to heart. He’s such a natural, and this is totally his element. I hope he gets more opportuities to do TV, VSB-related or not.

 

I’m a GRAMMY Community Blogger–Again!

the 53rd GRAMMY AwardsI’ve been keeping a secret for some time now and I guess it is finally time to let it all hang out. I have been invited to be a Blogger At Large for the 53rd GRAMMY Awards! You may remember that I was a GRAMMY Community Blogger At Large earlier this year for the 52nd GRAMMY Awards, and I am honored to be invited back for their blogger program for the ceremony in February 2011.

Sooo, what does this mean exactly? Well, as Blogger At Large I will be writing content for GRAMMY.com, attending related events (including the 53rd GRAMMY Awards and the official After-Party!), and I’ll be tweeting about these events and blogging about my experiences. I am so excited about this! I had so much fun this year, and this is such an awesome opportunity. I really dig what The Recording Academy is doing with bloggers because it’s not just simply flying us out for a one night event. We get to write content for GRAMMY.com, attend several events, and we work together for a few months leading up to the ceremony.

You might be wondering why I’m involved, as most of the other bloggers in the program are music bloggers. Well, specifically I will be writing content focusing on the social media aspect of the 53rd GRAMMY Awards and related events. I’ll be reviewing their mobile app, talking to staff about their marketing campaign (and its use of social media), and I’ll be covering scheduled events from the perspective of a web nerd. I think I am good at being a web nerd, right? I got this!

First up, I am flying to LA tonight so I can go to “The GRAMMY Nominations Concert Live!!” tomorrow night. I didn’t get to go to this last year, so this will be my first time! I’m excited to be back in LA and working with my friends over at The Recording Academy. On Thursday, I’ll be at The Recording Academy interviewing staff about their social media projects and tech initiatives for the 53rd GRAMMY Awards. I usually get a sneak peek at a lot of their projects, and they always have awesome secrets for me to keep 🙂  Last year’s campaign was quite impressive, so I am anxious to see what they have in store this year.

Anyway, be sure to follow me on Twitter, as a lot of my GRAMMY info will be there first!

You should also watch this tomorrow night:

The GRAMMY Nominations Concert LIVE!! — Countdown To Music’s Biggest Night

LL Cool J will host and Justin Bieber, B.o.B, Miranda Lambert, Bruno Mars and Katy Perry will perform live on Dec 1st (10/9c) on CBS.

#GRAMMYNoms is our official hashtag, so make sure you follow it on Twitter.

Mo'Nique's Words With The Press, Backstage

You already know I cried during Mo’Nique’s speech.

Anyway, here is a nice little ditty of her press interview backstage, brought to us by the lovely folks at TheLoop21:

Highlights:

  • She explains her outfit in relation to Hattie McDaniel
  • She stops press lady to make sure she gives the press who covered her early on a chance to ask a question
  • She talks about how she’s happy The Academy voted her on her work, rather than by how many dinners she went to/campaigned for the award

Class act.

Shonda Rhimes on internet feedback culture

Shonda Rhimes, on TV and instant internet culture (emphasis mine):

TVGuide.com: Let’s talk about TV coverage on the Internet. What
do you think about this instant feedback culture? Does it influence you?

Rhimes: I think for a long time we’d really try to stay here in the bubble. …
It’s only really lately and with the advent of Twitter that I’ve
actually been paying a little more attention to what’s written. But to
stay creative, you can’t get too emotionally involved in people saying
they love something and you can’t get too emotionally involved in
people saying they hate something.

I think Rhimes’ assessment is interesting. I often wonder if  celebrities active on Twitter get bruised egos due to the hurtful things said to them via Twitter mentions, and if that affects their creativity. In my own (extremely!) minute micro-celebrity I find that both the cheers and jeers throw me off sometimes, shutting down my motivation to create. Feedback is great, but sometimes internet feedback takes on a life of
its own and begins to influence and drive the creative process if you let it get out of control. My version of ‘staying in a bubble’ entails shutting down shop completely.

Maybe I should look into a different model.