An Ode To The First Black Twitter: Vibe Magazine's 20 Questions

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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.

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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…

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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DISCUSSION

RIP Vibe in honor I have some questions for the 1-4 and Twenty Fiddeen

1. When are rappers gonna get over this Migos flow kick
2. Isn't Migos flow just based off Mother Goose rhymes
3. Is it me or do rappers view Kardashians as a status symbol and not the other way around
4. Isn't it sad Tamia and Grant Hill didn't become the power couple they ought've
5. How come rappers respect the plight of strippers more than their baby mom's
6. What happened to Girl Groups
7. When is Drake gonna discover an artist who doesn't sound like him
8. How does Jahlil Beats feels that his career was revived by a throwaway beat and Vine
9. What did Puff do with MGK
10. Isn't Kid Ink just more likable Yung Berg
11. Has anyone watched Blackish since the pilot
12. If your "big chop'" wasn't instagrammed did it really happen
13. Will Bey stans ever forgive Keri Hilson
14. Whatever happened to that Issa Rae show on ABC
15. Did Simba go back to eating meat or did he stay vegan
16. How long are we gonna pretend Pharrell can sing
17. Will YOLObama be unlocked after election Day
18. If you score a touchdown do u Shmoney or Nae Nae
19. Why are YouTube ads in HD but the video itself looks like ISIS made it
20. Will LeBron bald that out or just go ahead and pay for a transplant