Last week I did my biannual mourn over what Suede Magazine (Fall 2004-Spring 2005 RIP RIP RIP) could’ve been if it hadn’t tanked after four BOMB ASS issues. I love Googling “I miss Suede Magazine” and finding all the new Pinterest boards and blog posts in its honor. Suede came and went my junior year of college—laying down the foundation for every Fly Black Girl Blog that exists today. Something sparked in me to see if there were back issues of Suede on Google Books. There aren't (sorry if your Fly Black Girl Heartbeat fluttered in anticipation), but there are old issues of Vibe galore. Which meant two immediate actions: a throwback 20 Questions binge and an overzealous email to Damon to ask to write about it.
Before Black Twitter was the go-to for quick-witted Black culture commentary, there was Vibe Magazine’s 20 Questions column. With each new Vibe issue, I flipped straight to the 20 Questions like generations of horny Negroes have done JET for the Beauty of the Week. I had one goal with this column: getting boys who did not find me cute to stay longer on the phone. The sarcastic quips of these questions were great conversation starters and fillers for all my baes in Air Max 96 and Tommy Hilfiger anoraks. Vibe’s 20 Questions swagged me out plenty of gold stars for my friendship zone reports circa 1998, for which I am eternally grateful.
In hindsight, a lot of these questions were super corny but allowed to cook due to platform—Black Twitter certainly keeps this tradition alive—but here are my 20 findings (some I remember in print!) that brought nostalgia and/or are still relevant and/or would still keep the baes on my line…
1. “Now that Teairra Mari’s parted ways with Def Jam, would it be wrong for us to pencil Rihanna as the new Princess of the Roc?” January 2007
2. “How bad does Ja Rule’s memory have to be for him to forget how to write a good hook?” August 2008
3. “Is it us, or does fly-ass Maia (from NBC’s In the House) look like she’s ready to blow up the spot with her due-in-June debut album? (We here she’s on the Sade tip.)” April 1996
4. “Why did R. Kelly, in a recent concert, appear onstage in a sheer jumpsuit with a revealing hole at the groin?” August 1996
5. “ And why were his genitals accessorized with a gold chain?” August 1996
6. “ Of all the music networks, why is BET the only one to block out the butts in Snoop’s “Beautiful” video?” September 2003
7. “ Is Bow Wow prettier than Ciara?” September 2005
8. “ Isn’t it ironic that young rappers try to dress like mobsters, while young mob guys wear track suits and gold chains like rappers?” April 2003
9. “Do you still have Mike Jones’ cell phone number memorized?” October 2006
10. “Are sports jerseys the new power suit?” December 2002
11. “ Doesn’t Freeway look like Papa Smurf?” June 2002
12. “Shouldn’t someone tweeze Webbie’s eyebrows?” November 2005
13. “And seriously, is Mr. Clean a long-lost member of Onyx?” March 1998
14. “Do execs at Comedy Central really think that Jon Stewart has what it takes to replace The Daily Show’s deliciously arrogant host, Craig Kilborn?” November 1998
15. “Is Usher’s head the Bad Boy Entertainment logo?” August 1998
16. “If All-4-One and Color Me Badd had a not-so-attractive contest, who would win?” August 1995
17. “Isn’t Devin the Dude the rap version of Dave Chappelle?” August 2004
18. “Speaking of collaborative LPs, wouldn’t a rapping and singing album from Andre 3000 and Eminem be ridiculous?” March 2005
19. “How appropriate is it that the Black Eyed Peas named their album Monkey Business?” October 2005
20. “Who raps slower, Fabolous or Loon?” February 2003
Christina E. is an East Oakland native currently working on her memoir hella. She spends her free time getting fresher fades than your boyfriend. You can read Christina's personal blog at christinawrotethis.com.