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Dear #TBUnited ,

I'm throwing this out here to y'all because i think it's only fair. #TeamBlackness and I have been talking and we're considering a name change for +Blacking It Up. Please note--its not because "we" have an issue with it. Hell, its not because some crazy a-holes think we sound radical or anything. We've come to this wall because lots of people simply won't acknowledge it.

It doesn't matter how much I say +Blacking It Up. No matter how much i put it in my bio. No matter how much i invite people on to the show. No matter how much people listen to the show. Everyone still decides that it's the +This Week In Blackness podcast...which is true to an extent. Yes, it was the podcast that was used to supplement TWIB but I wanted to brand it. Apparently a year and a half of branding has left us with people simply writing sometimes "THE ELON JAMES SHOW!" I dont know how that happens I can't be any clearer. +Aaron Freeman argues that some folks just dont like the name or are uncomfortable saying it and simply choose not to. The fact is the name of the show was a joke. Hassan Madrey from The White House was teasing me when i said I was going to start a podcast with Bassey. He said "So you're just going to be sitting there, Blacking It Up..." and I laughed and replied "You act like I wouldn't name it that..." When Bassey agreed it was a done deal and we've rolled since then. But as the show grows, and we're walking into different spaces I'm thinking perhaps we're strangle holding ourselves. People just arent' that chill. They refuse to accept a name that screws with them. Not that +This Week In Blackness is so much better in that sense. Some folks are sacred of "Black" at all in a title. That's why a lot of folks say "TWIB." But after Aaron suggested we just refer to the show as the This Week in Blackness podcast (I'd call it #TWIBRADIO ) I thought "Eff it. It might help."

What are your thoughts?
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It's a shame that you would have to basically "rebrand" because people can't get it right or accept that being the name and associated with such name. At the end of the day, you want the show and yourself to be successful and if a name change constitutes that then so be it. We support you either way. Twibradio would be fine.
well, at least consider A Slip-Slide on the Black Hand Side.
The thing is +Kahlief Adams is that many folks wouldn't even know it was rebranded. Listeners of the show call it +This Week In Blackness. Like LOYAL listeners. That's what started to get to me. I'd send in my information for shows, events and such and everyone hears "This Week In Blackness." On one hand I'm happy that I created something that stuck in peoples heads but apparently its so much so they cant shake it.
I like the current name. However, I will admit that I use Blacking It Up and TWIB interchangeably when referring/discussing the show with others. I vote for whatever you feel is easiest to market while remaining honest to your message.

edit: I guess that doesn't really help...LOL.
I can see that it would be hard to market a Blacking it Up show and completely see Aaron's point. You have to work on moving the company/show forward and you shouldn't hinder that.

Hopefully, once you reach another level, "This Week in Blackness" doesn't seem "off putting" to some and then you consider altering that also. That would be the only challenge I see to you changing the name: the perception that you are willing to move the goal posts at each challenge.

Either way, I'm not trippin'

I think it makes sense. Things evolve. The new name would align with the already established
+Elon James White That is the difficulty I suppose with something grabbing people's mindshare and being successful. It's funny though because +Blacking It Up always seemed to be more of a conversation starter about the show than TWIB
I'm more stubborn than Reasonable, so my initial reaction is "Eff alla y'all that can't handle the name of the podcast, aaaaagh!" However, you can look at it this way, it wouldn't be the first time you've changed the name of a podcast. Not gonna lie, the "Jaga, Take My Strength"-cast was pretty obscure, even for people who speak Nerd.

If you do go with the name change, then you're smart to coincide it with June 1st, the first day of your 3 month beg-a-thon.
A rose by another name and all that. Do what you have to do, Elon. It's the content that keeps me coming back. If anything, it'll separate the new fans from the old ones. Nothing wrong with that.
I hope folks wouldn't think it was moving the goal post +Monika Brooks. It's not like we're calling it "The Evening Report with Elon James White." The fact is the genesis of EVERYTHING here is +This Week In Blackness. So its not like a "sell out to get something" It's more of a solidifying of the brand. In all honesty It could be argued i should've called it that in the first place as opposed to trying to create a brand new brand. I think show might actually get a push because there were enough folks who really liked TWIB and still think TWIB when they see my face.
Umm, wow... I like what you have managed to accomplish and do and become with BIU - I think it is awesome (in a literal sense, not throw away sense).

The TWiB brand is more solid (?) and it would help unite your various efforts under one easily discernible umbrella, especially as you move into more TWiB videos for the upcoming election, if I understand that plan at all... And you still will not have given up Blackness in the title of what you do, which I think is important.

It would have maybe been less awkward to share the podcast at the pharmacy with a lady that told me she needed more blackness in her Internet (I swear that happens - why tell the whiter than white lady that, I have no idea - people tell me things), but we laughed and bonded over the reality of what we were doing, which would not have happened if it was the ElonCast...

But what do I know? You do you, beau, I think the saying goes. And as long as there is still a place for me to help where I can, I will be there.
I think Aaron is probably right about people just being uncomfortable. A lot of people still associate the phrase "blacking up" with blackface, and that association might be interfering with effectively branding the show. "This Week in Blackness" is still keeps the irreverent flavor of the show without the complication. And if that's what people are calling the show, it might be more trouble than it's worth to fight the branding.

Ultimately, you know TBUnited (formerly Team Voltron) is ride or die no matter what. But, a name change to the This Week in Blackness podcast might simplify things as the show grows. 
Please also consider "This Week In Negroes Wearing Hats."
+Elon James White Do what you need to do. You know we will still listen. Just make it easy for us to find and download. What are you going to do about #AfterBlack ? Will that get renamed as well or eliminated?
I am not saying that is. Some times there is the perception that is what is happening. In my head I always thought of it as "This Week in Blackness Presents: Blacking it up" so to me Its like you are just shortening the name.

And I'm not saying your listeners. Mostly Execs that believe that all companies of color are willing to "Make Concessions" no matter how ridiculous. But I'm sure you have already dealt with those folks.
No. #Afterblack is what it is. It's a supplemental to our main show. There's no reasonable reason to rename that at all.
Best not lose #AFTERBLACK... We need some ratchet in the Twibuverse.
The funniest part is that I feel like I'm some how backing down when I'm reverting to the original name that everyone told me would ruin all of my chances for meetings with execs. I told everyone go eff themselves and it worked. TWIB got respect. But for some reason I can't force BIU down peoples throat. They simply rename it FOR me.
+Elon James White Will you still sign off with "Have we been sufficiently black?" I thought the point of that was a play on the fact that the title of the show was a (inside)joke.
+Elon James White I too wondered if there would be a moment when the name would have to change. It feels like changing the name is giving in to the small minded, "frightened of race" establishment but to change the game you have to be willing to play it I guess.
I was never a regular TWiB viewer. As a regular BIU listener though, I must say that web address I have for the show is a combo, right? I like the title: subtitle from +Monika Brooks. "Blacking It Up" is so perfectly vague and specific enough to describe the breadth and focus of the show. Plus it's memorable. Calling it just TWiB seems odd, because it's not a weekly show.
I like the BiU name, but the show now is a lot different than it was when it was you and Bassey and the others just "Blacking it Up." If people are already calling it TWIB, then something like "TWIB Radio" or "The TWIBcast" might make sense.
We will always ask have we been sufficiently black +TheLast Storm. Reverting to +This Week In Blackness makes the question still very relevant. I do like how +Monika Brooks looked at the show as being presented by TWIB, which it is. We may just incorporate all of this in order to allow for maximum brand recognition for TWIB and allow for the conversation starter of BIU...
I'm down with whatever. I caught myself saying TWIB in my video and was like, "Dang it!" afterward. I prefer to say TWIBIU because then I'm covering all possible bases, lol. And honestly, +Monika Brooks's point makes total natural sense to me. TWIB presents BIU seems like a perfectly organic evolution of the name while keeping in tact the multiple associations "Blacking it Up" produces (which is why it is an awesome name).
I look at Blacking It Up and the AfterBlack as "The Reasonable Negro Hour" and "The Ratchet Negro Hour", respectively. The Tomax and Xamot of Blackness, if you will.
Please don't think of it as a back down, it's a calculated move and that's all that matters. I have to change my site from Negroes With Controllers to another name so I understand.
+Elon James White Is this something that just happens now and again or is it an overwhelming epidemic of folks simply not knowing or catching on on the show's title? If it's the latter, perhaps going where the brand is leading you might be a good idea. It seems as if TWIB has more sticking power than BIU (even if that's a matter of comfortability or otherwise).

More, it seems as if there would be less of a perception of, to put it gently, rant radio and more of discussion radio. Through that, your message would be more readily received. To be honest, when I first read the title "Blacking it Up," I was put off by it. And I still am to an extent.
+Elon James White Let me preface by saying I love the Blacking it Up! name. It has an origin story that encapsulates the initial vision of the show. But if we're all honest with ourselves (especially lifetime listeners), this has been a longtime coming. As others above have noted, the show has substantially evolved in the last few years. It started as news, entertainment, race, and ratchetness discussions from the young, black perspective ( which was and is still awesome) to a more professional, reasonable voice on issues of the day (also awesome and very much needed).

If the price for bringing that voice and perspective to a broader audience and validating the presence of a more nuanced black entertainment market, is changing the name of a show that has already changed so much....that's an effing bargain, in my opinion. As +Cloris PatientC so eloquently put it..."you do you, boo".

Team Blackness got your back.
I have always liked the name "Blacking It Up." But, I think, in this case, changing the name is a pragmatic choice, not about principles. It's not like you'd be changing it to the "totally non-threatening colorblind hour with 3 people who just happen to be Black"-cast. TWiB still centers race and clearly resonates with people. So, I think you should just do what is best for the show. You're instincts have been really good so far and have allowed you to create something remarkable. So, do what you think is best. No guilt.

I am with Aaron, I think it's the "blackness" that makes folks uncomfortable. This Week In Blackness doesn't fix that but I see the issue you are having. Do what you guys need to do with the name. As long as the show doesn't change, TBUnited will be there.
Since I can only give +amissa hackworth one +1, consider this the second for her comment. She's got it dead solid perfect as does +Aaron Freeman. I do understand the need to bring people in to at least listen. If changing the name might give that, change it like a boss!

And +Nathan Wind does indeed get the awesomeness award today particularly for the super deep GI Joe reference. Well played, sir!
I think the name Blacking It Up is hilarious and provocative and I love it.

+Elon James White "Blacking It Up" is beautifully misleading because once someone listens they are delighted at the reasonableness expressed on the show as well as how wrong they were to fear the show to begin with. Your fans love you for that.

You are being challenged because you guys are forging the way for better media, but I feel you should stick to your guns. "Blacking It Up" may be off-putting to those conditioned to run away from Blackness and Black issues, but you are winning the battle with that title and a growing audience. You have diverse fans who are recommending Blacking It Up to their friends and family. You are making the idea of Blacking Anything Up less of a threat and more of a norm.

As a relatively new podcast listener who never watched the video series when it was occurring regularly, I think the confusion comes from the use of and I get how they're useful as shortlinks, but it does put the +This Week In Blackness brand at cross-purposes with +Blacking It Up.

That said, there's probably something to Aaron's point as well.

I don't think it's a sell out to change it and I don't think anything else about the show needs to change. Maybe there's an opportunity to re-purpose "Blacking it Up" elsewhere in the TWiB media empire?

(LOL at "Jaga, Take My Strength." I can hear Lion-O in my head.)
I'm with +Monika Brooks on this. I think of +Blacking It Up as presented by +This Week In Blackness. I get the argument for changing the name, but I think TWiB sounds stronger as the name of the umbrella network you've created, which includes Blacking it Up, AfterBLACK, We Nerd Hard, Black Guy Who Tips, etc. and the community. TWiB's the family, and BIU is part of it. Ultimately it's your decision as a group to make and as your fans we'll roll/promote/support whatever you do. You work with marketing the show everyday so you know best how to proceed.
I like a mysterious acronym like TWIB-- there's a local bookstore I like called BLMF, and every time someone asks him what it stands for he gives them a different answer; he told me it's actually Books Like a Motherfucker.
...But I digress. Point is, we trust you.
LOLOLOLOL Books Like A Motherfucker is my favorite name for anything, ever!
Don't be afraid to grow and evolve. I love the name Blackingitup. But growth sometimes requires change... Maybe the name of the show has to be one of those changes.
On the one hand, the fact that you're considering a name change because people don't like it/use it is probably the best argument to keep the name.

On the other hand, from a purely branding point of view, it's best to have one name, the one people generally use (TWIB).

I guess it depends on how and why you want the show to grow. If you're content with the way things are, keep doing it. Just make sure whatever decision you make, you make it with the same integrity as what you've been doing. Growth doesn't necessarily mean better.
I like # TWIBRADIO. Look, when i stumbled across your show, my first impression was that it was entirely comedic. But, its not. In fact, its very informative and reasonable. Thats what i love most. However, when trying to convince my friends and peers, they b/c very dismissive. I think it gives and inclusive inference, which
TWIB or BiU, makes no difference to me -- whatever you choose to call it, it will remain one of the best podcasts ever. :)
Exclusive, or esoteric.
do you want to expand your audience?
I'm going to listen regardless and continue to tell everyone I know to listen. But I would stick with Blacking It Up!
It's totally up to you. I'll listen regardless of what you call the show, but I understand absolutely the "walking into different spaces" thing.
You have the #3 Headband. You came this close to taking #2...from Sam Sedar and The Majority Report! WHAT?!
So, now, you have to roll like a serious contender.
Have "This Week In Blackness" as the show's main title.
On the t-shirt, how about...
"This Week In Blackness: Blacking It Up. All Day, Every Day." (You can put "son" at the end, if you choose.)
If TWIB is getting the recognition you want, then stick with it.
Yeah, marketing sucks

*cue cheerful, Oprah-like theme song*
(But seriously - better to change the packaging than the content. You're still going to be true to yourselves and that's waaaay more important)
I say "eff 'em if they can't pay enough attention to figure out the difference." I like Blacking It Up. Keep it. When they get it wrong, correct them.
I think a name change would be great. The show really is amazing - you, L.Joy, Aaron and the BIU family should all be proud. I'm proud of you guys. But I know that when I speak about the show to my friends - WHO I KNOW WOULD LOVE THE SHOW - I basically have to re-enact entire sections because my suit wearing, midtown Manhattan working friends sometimes have trouble moving past the name of the show. I'd rather be able to talk to them and others about the content of the show - Zombie Apocalypse, GO Bags and all - than have them get stuck on the name of the show
Also, all this is fodder for your memoir.
I started with you all for This Week in Blackness, so when the podcast came out I initially referred to it as "This Week in Blackness: Daily Podcast Edition" until I realized that Blacking it Up was actually the name of the series and not just that one episode. To keep with your previous branding, go with what Aaron has suggested or perhaps This Day in Blackness.
I'm a relatively new listener. To be honest, prior to actually listening to the show and based only on the name alone, I was expecting a "militant" take on the happenings of the day. On a day where was feeling particularly militant myself I actually listened to the show and was pleasantly surprised. Rather than the militant perspective I was kind of looking for that day, I found a reasoned and well though perspective on a wide variety of topics.

The point I am trying to elucidate is that I can see how the name may be limiting your audience and a rebranding effort may lead to a wider audience.

Regardless of the choice you make, I'm hooked and will continue to listen. 
Your show is very informative and I have cited and quoted your show for several different research papers and presentations. I have the repeated problem of  having to explain your podcast because of the name, Blacking it up, because someone thinks it is black militant podcast and doesn't think it is an appropriate source. After I explain the concept of the show, the appropriateness of the show is no longer and issue.
With that said, I will support whatever decision you make; it is a great show.
"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet"
I think the great thing about this is that BIU and TWIB are interchangable, as long as you don't change Afterblack and the other aspects. I can respect the branding argument, but you three have my support regardless, as long as you don't go cray-cray and start supporting the GOP or something like that.
The show deals with serious subjects from a, sometimes, comedic angle. The "BlackingItUp" moniker doesn't get the traction it should because it comes from the comedic perspective. Comedy is integral to the show but the actual "goal" is to get people thinking and acting about what is going on locally, nationally, and sometimes globally. Therefore, the name should reflect the ultimate goal of the show without loosing its edge. I think "This Week in Blackness" achieves that goal, to a degree. Ultimately, I think the name will change again as the show and various forms of media (written articles, video, podcast, blog, etc) begin to form a more consistent message. IMHO.
I think "Jaga, Take My Strength" is gonna be my new wifi network name.
As someone who drops in and out of things I sincerely thought that "Blacking It Up" and "This Week in Blackness" were two names for the same thing. I had no idea they were different. Sometimes I must admit to being a bit confused with the many sites and platforms. I'm not always sure where to go to find you or what is going on. Maybe one main site with links to the various things that you are doing would clear things up. I usually hit the site but it doesn't always take me to places like iTunes with the latest show. But like I said, I drop in and out. I don't know if that's helpful or not. I'm sincerely trying to be.
When you ask for donations, you direct folks to, do you not?.. and when you go to TWIB, that is the home page, with the chatroom, video, and podcasts there. That is why I thought that "Blacking It Up" was a part of a larger entity, TWIB.. that is why I think folks interchange the two... it is presented that way.
"Blacking It Up" as a title, is fine.. but folks have to see it everywhere, imo.. and consistently.. not as a part of another website.  Look at your picture on the website with Michael Dyson.. it has #TWIBIU on it, so the two are, indeed, combined.
no.... I did NOT suggest that Elon start another hashtag/website... really, I didn't  *-)
My instinct is to say "Screw the haters, keep the name!" but I know I've caught myself omitting, skimming over, excusing, or justifying the name to potential listeners. People just get really, really hung up on that name, and ultimately it might limit its growth potential or speed of growth. White people get confused and wonder if it's offensive when I mention it and Black people think I'm being racist or racially insensitive (because they assume it's some sort of minstrel thing or something, I assume?).

I also think a lot of people (who already know the show) genuinely get mixed up because This Week in Blackness and Blacking It Up by the same person are fairly similar titles, and it probably didn't help to make "TWIBIU" the hashtag. The expansion of that, This Week in Blacking It Up, is not the name of anything, but rather a mishmash of the two, and therefore confuses people and forces a linkage you might not have intended. And as you said, even some really hardcore loyal listeners have repeatedly mixed up the titles, so there's not much hope for the casual listeners and/or promoters/corporate/whatever who aren't loyal fans. Edit: Oh and I'm sure that the long hiatus on TWIB videos just suggested to many people that you had switched formats for the same thing.

So I won't fight the name change.
I did not read all the previous comments and someone smarter than me may have said this already... but what if you shifted the "Blacking it Up" name to second hour, losing the name "Afterblack" and then start calling "Blacking it Up" the "This Week in Blackness Show"/ "#TWIBPOD"/ "#TWIBRADIO". Of the three brands "Afterblack" is the most new and least widely known.

Just my two cents.
I say change the name. If a major goal of the show is to offer an idea of blackness that isn't rigid and prepackaged, I think the irony of "Blacking it Up" is lost on anyone who doesn't already understand the nuance, contradictions, and complications of race. The title "This Week in Blackness" is democratizing in that it allows everyone -- with their pre-conceived ideologies, biases, and assumptions -- to come to the table and be challenged. 

Dont' get me wrong, I LOVE "Blacking it Up" and you built strength and credibility with that name which is unprecedented and amazing. But I think you're right, it's time to move to Phase Two. Plus, you can keep the spirit of that joke by closing with "we've been sufficiently black," which may be more subversive than the original "Blacking it Up" title. 
I haven't read the entire thread, but I'd rather you sell out a tad and be able to reach more people, if this even counts as selling out. It's not like you're saying BP is magical and Rush is a great guy. You're going to have to feed your Blewish children somehow. 
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