On Whoreible Decisions, girls, femmes, and queer people just want to have fun

As co-hosts of the raunchy podcast, Weezy and Mandii B have built a sizeable fanbase by talking sex, race, and mental health.

Culture

This past June, Gila Shlomi, aka Weezy, one-half of the podcast Whoreible Decisions, was suspended from Twitter for the first time. The reason is predictably unexpected — “I called myself a ho in third person,” Weezy explains over a Zoom call with her co-host, Mandii B. “I shamed myself and got suspended.” On Instagram, she’s been suspended at least five times for using the word “bitch.” The most recent ousting was last fall. She only retrieved her account after shock jock turned pundit-entrepreneur Charlamagne Tha God lobbied on her behalf and reached someone behind the platform’s opaque curtain. As for Twitter, Weezy insists, “I don’t really care about getting back on Twitter, and I didn’t even try.”

Over the past decade, Weezy and Mandii B have built a sizeable online platform by “shaming themselves” and sharing all the “whoreish” details of their sex lives. Along the way, they’ve recalibrated how people discuss intimacy while simultaneously placing the needs of Black queer femmes at the forefront of every discussion about pleasure, power, and bodily autonomy. In June, they made their debut festival appearance at the Roots Picnic, sharing the stage with Mary J. Blige, Jazmine Sullivan, and Summer Walker. On the fan-led site Patreon, Whoreible Decisions is the third most popular adult podcast. Across its social media platforms, the brand has amassed over 300,000 dedicated followers who regularly seek relationship advice and often recognize the ladies in the streets, leading to comical interactions. “I’m mid-bite into a burger, and [someone] asked me about threesome advice,” Weezy shares on a recent episode. So goes the realities of fame.

When it comes to content, you could call these two Florida natives the Trinas of the podcasting world. But in terms of censorship, they’re more like 2 Live Crew. As hosts, Weezy and Mandii have dealt with a similar kind of puritanical reflex. When 2 Live told us they were horny in 1991, their lustful declarations raised eyebrows and ire all the way to the Supreme Court. Their victory was as significant for creative liberties as it would later be for a confessional generation eager to indulge in all manners of disclosure. That framework — combining risque observations with humor and honesty — is not far removed from Whoreible Decisions. With their throwaway musings on interracial relationships, sex stigmas, desire, race, gender roles, and the stifling chasteness of mainstream society, the hosts have enlivened social media, often unintentionally.

Despite digital and physical proof of their successes via zealous fan engagement and brick-and-mortar studios with their names overhead, their media and industry adulation hasn’t reached the crescendo enjoyed by one of their counterpart podcasts, Call Her Daddy. Created in 2018 by Alexandra Cooper and Sofia Franklyn, both white, Call Her Daddy grew partly because of the infamy of its distributor, Barstool Sports, and a recounting of the host’s daily lives, including their sexual dalliances. Three years later, after a falling out with Franklyn, Cooper signed a $60 million deal with Spotify — more than double that of Prince Harry and Megan Markle and right behind Joe Rogan’s $100 million signing. Astronomical numbers aside, Spotify’s investment is evidence of the company’s trust both in Cooper’s reach and her capabilities as a podcaster, the type of opportunity rarely given to Black women.

Along with a show on Fuse TV, Weezy is Head of Production at Kenya Barris’ audio division in partnership with Audible, and the co-founder and owner of the bi-coastal production company WTFMedia. For Mandii B, founder of Brooklyn-based Full Court Studios, the wellness company Official Box Owner — and whose voice listeners will also recognize from her work on the See The Thing Is… podcast — publicly talking about the messy nuances of sex stands in contrast to a childhood where the topic rarely came up. “I grew up in a household with a single mom raising three kids, and sex wasn’t really discussed,” says Mandii. “I even hid my period for the first year I had it, so we didn’t talk about my periods.”

@bethtaye

Mandii B, who prefers going by her alias, spent her childhood in Oak Ridge and Pine Hills, where despite their bucolic names, the neighborhoods buckled against police violence and surveillance, melded with decaying infrastructure. “My mom found out I was having sex when I brought a positive pregnancy test to her crying,” Mandii recalls. She was entering her junior year of high school, and the discovery prompted revelations for both mother and daughter. “That’s when I heard about her having an abortion,” Mandii says of her mom. “I was 16 going on 17, and it wasn’t a thought in my mind to have the baby. I wasn’t ready.”

She and Weezy have known each other since those teenage years, where even though they went to separate schools, crushes and circumstances brought them into orbit. A shared interest in an older boy first made them enemies until they realized he wasn’t worth their attention. The two became each other’s wing-woman, trying to finesse their way into clubs with fake IDs and imagination. When they weren’t playing clubgoers, they would be at Weezy’s house in an affluent part of Orlando where sex lost its air of mystery — even if the conversations got uncomfortable. “My mom really went into detail about sex with me,” says Weezy. “She tried to talk about sex with Mandii and I to the point where I was embarrassed about it. It was fucking weird, but I feel like I’ll be that type of mom now, and it’s cool to see what’s come from it.”

As digital media and streaming giants have upended traditional television structures, audio entertainment has also been revamped. Podcasts have grown from a niche, somewhat quirky genre into a billion-dollar beast that has everyone from the uber-famous (Barack Obama, Bruce Springsteen) to longtime social media juggernauts (Timothy Chantarangsu and Shan Boodram) and every contestant from The Bachelor franchise setting up lemonade stands. As of 2020, there are over 120 million podcast listeners in the U.S., and that number is expected to pass 160 million by 2023. People are tuned in and show no signs of tuning out.

Premiering in 2017, Whoreible Decisions launched after podcasts had grown less obscure but before they became ubiquitous in pop culture. At a basic level, podcasting is about bringing people together and listening to people talk. The best ones feel like eavesdropping on an engaging conversation in transit, but this appearance of ease belies the business acumen and storytelling pizzazz required to consistently stand out and make money at the same time.

Whoreible Decisions is a masterclass in sociology in the same ways bartenders and hairdressers make the best therapists. The duo’s interview skills are a mix of intuitive and studied, sharpened from years of sifting through small talk and scanning rooms to gauge safety and comfort levels. Previously in the trenches of corporate America before pivoting into entertainment, both Weezy and Mandii keenly understand how to market a product and reach the target audience. They’re curious and concerned about all aspects of sexual wellness, from sex club etiquette (“warning partners of wet spots on the beds”) and navigating threesomes to reproductive rights, voyeurism, and affordable sex toys.

They’re also incredibly vulnerable when articulating under-discussed sex rituals — Mandii B, in particular, has been frank about her emotional growth as a romantic partner. In the past year, she’s talked to listeners about how “aftercare” changed her expectations in relationships. Aftercare can include everything from cuddling with a partner to massaging and checking in on each other. In her last relationship, this was an intrinsic part of their romantic life, and it’s now become a requirement. “I’m not dealing with anyone right now because I haven’t figured out how to ask for intimacy in casual sex settings,” says Mandii. “I just learned about intimacy in my last relationship. So I want to unlearn the behavior I had throughout my twenties regarding situationships, not valuing myself as much as I should, and demanding more from my partners. Sex is pointless for me without that.”

This type of clarity and work-in-progress appeal is part of what’s made the podcast cultishly successful, and it’s also a product of the decades of work that Black sex educators have put towards dispelling anti-Black stereotypes about sexuality, identity, and gender. Dr. Shemeka Thorpe, a sex educator and therapist who’s been studying and teaching sexual wellness for over two decades, has seen the social and cultural changes in the ways Black women can practice sexual freedom. “Often, people do not think about sexual well-being when discussing overall wellness,” Thorpe explains over email. “Our sexual wellness is connected to our physical and mental wellness, and Black women are worthy of pleasurable sex experiences. They deserve sex education that goes beyond reducing HIV and teen pregnancy.”

@calligrafist

This messaging also aligns with the creators behind the wellness hub Afrosexology, whose founders, Dalychia Saah and Rafaella Fiallo, wanted to center the pleasure principle and dive deeper into a sex education that’s immersive and not prohibitive. “We started Afrosexology in 2015 because the things that people tended to talk about were either STIs, pregnancy prevention, abuse, or violence, and it was heavy,” they wrote in an email. “We chose to have this pleasure-centered, inclusive Black space with affirming conversations, coupled with power and agency. In terms of engagement, we saw this rapid increase and visibility because people just want to feel seen and validated.”

The laser focus on the sexual realities of Black and queer femmes has made Whoreible Decisions a necessary voice in the modern era. Yet, according to Weezy and Mandii B, it’s also made it difficult for them to attract advertisers and catch the eyes of companies doling out $60 million deals to podcasters with lesser experience. When I ask if people have a problem with Black women talking about sex, Weezy chuckles and playfully calls me out for asking a question to which we both know the answer. “I just did PR for my TV show [Sex Sells], and one of the major outlets wanted me to have Sofia Franklin, who used to be on Call Her Daddy [podcast], in the article to describe an episode we did. If I didn’t have her on there, they didn’t want me,” says Weezy. Franklin was a guest on the show, while Weezy is the host and creator.

In the early days of the podcast, Mandii B recalls going on other shows for promotion and being undermined by hosts who treated her as more of an amusing oddity than an entrepreneur. “For a long time, even recently, we would be introduced [on shows] like, ‘We got some hoes up in here today.’ And as two women who pioneered the conversations around kink and taboos, it was like, we are more than that,” she says. “A part of me hated the downplaying of who we were as businesswomen because of the sex content.”

Whoreible Decisions is currently part of iHeartMedia and Charlamagne Tha God’s Black Effect podcast network, home to an array of entertainers from multiple fields, including former NBA player Matt Barnes, actress Erika Alexander, and rappers MC Eiht and Scarface. It’s a storied roster of talent that signals not only the breadth of voices in the podcast space but the high regard in which Mandi B and Weezy are held. It’s a long way from the days when they’d play the songs of independent artists on their show for $100 a track to make money and book recording time. Less than six years later, they have their own studios, and Hollywood brokers are taking notice — a development Weezy realized during a serendipitous meeting. “Until one year ago, I was so uncomfortable knowing that I was known for talking about sex,” she says. “A few months ago, I was at a party, and Chris Rock’s manager asked if I was from Whoreible Decisions. I said, ‘Yeah.’ Then my face went red, and the first thing that came out of her mouth was, ‘It is so brilliantly produced.’ It made me want to cry because I thought she was gonna say it was crazy. Because that’s what everybody says.”

In the next few months, Weezy and Mandii B will juggle several projects: Mandii B is hosting MTV’s new show Date My Playlist (where contestants search for and deny lovers based on musical preferences), and Weezy is continuing season two of Sex Sells. Guests on the latter include R&B singer Brent Faiyaz and rapper Young M.A. While their eco-systems continue to expand and generate increasingly high-profile gigs, both Weezy and Mandii remain committed to learning the business of sex and podcasting. Before the podcast ends, Weezy hopes to cross one thing off her to-do list: anal sex. “I’m not really there with butt sex yet. After six years, everyone comes on the podcast and talks about having anal and how it’s great. I don’t know what will happen first. Will I push a baby out of me, or will a dick go up my ass? One of those two things needs to happen before the end of the podcast.”