Behind the Brilliance 117: Damon Young


This episode is the perfect kickoff to Black History Month. Writer and Very Smart Brothas founder Damon Young joined me for a funny and fascinating conversation about his journey from basketball star to writer.

Beyond sharing his witty observations, Damon shares the things he’s learned as he’s made excellence a priority in his writing.

Say hi to Damon and tell him what you thought of this episode: @verysmartbros



Damon Young | Writer + Founder of

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he’s working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes.


TOPICS COVERED (partial list)

-The realization Damon had that led him to give up his basketball career (he’s still a Pittsburgh hoop legend)

-Why ‘Dick and Haiku’ is the grandfather of ‘Netflix and Chill’

-Damon’s stint as a teacher and his made up curriculum

-How Very Smart Brothas was born and how Damon thinks about its growth

-The serendipitous events following the release of Damon’s first book

-Damon’s advice to aspiring full-time creatives

-How Damon thinks about parenting, being an outsider, and managing his time

-and much more

STUFF MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE (clickable links below)

I Am Not Your Negro

Damon on Twitter

The Bluest Eye

Catch 22

The Things They Carried

Angela Nissel

They Can’t Kill Us All

The Fire This Time