The Butter: FAQs -The Toast

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Roxane GayWhy did you name this project The Butter?

Because butter is delicious and perfect on toast.

What other names did you consider?

The Jelly, The Jam, The Spread, The Preserve, The Toaster, The Oleo

What is your vision for The Butter?

The Butter’s vision is something I’m going to shape as I go along. I’m not a planner. What I do know is that we’re going to publish excellent writing with heart, grit, and intelligence. We’re going to publish writing that is thoughtful and nuanced, opinionated while leaving space for other points of view.

The Butter will cover my favorite things—the mess of living in this messy world, culture, books, movies, and Beyoncé. There will be a weekly advice column, Ask The Butter. The eminently talented Ashley Ford will be writing a biweekly column called Disrupted Domesticity. On Fridays, we will publish short fiction. We will not be publishing poetry even though poetry is awesome.

There won’t be headlines like, “You won’t believe this,” and “You’ll never believe that,” even though we are well aware we need to entice readers somehow, someway. We aren’t going to publish explainers. Sometimes we will publish lists. This is an endeavor that prioritizes quality over quantity.

We’re going to trust the writers we publish. We’re going to trust their words. We’re going to trust our taste. We’re going to trust you. We’re going to respect your time and intelligence.

You seem rather busy. Why did you take this on?

Too rarely do we see women, and more specifically, black women, given the opportunity to helm their own funded, editorial projects. How could I say no? I get to work with an amazing group of people. Mallory also baked some baked goods for me at this reading we did together in Los Angeles and I realized, “membership has its privileges.”

Do you have guidelines for writers?

There are no guidelines beyond what you will find at the submission manager. I no longer have patience for guidelines mostly because writers ignore them anyway. There is no need to ask me about my preferences or length requirements. Use common sense and send me writing I can’t live without. If your submission is “time sensitive,” The Butter probably isn’t the right home for your work. There are countless publications that already do that sort of thing very well. I even write for some of them.

Does The Butter pay?


Why is that Nick Jonas song “Jealous” so catchy?

I wish I knew but I cannot stop listening to that damn song.

That gospel version though…

Bless his heart for trying so hard. He is singing with his ENTIRE FACE (especially around 1:24) in front of that impeccable choir.

I hear you’re some kind of feminist?

You’re goddamned right I am.

What is a Bad Feminist?

I wrote a whole book about that.

Do I need to be a feminist to read or contribute to The Butter?

You only need to be yourself but why wouldn’t you be a feminist?

Did you see Solange’s wedding pictures?

Ask me a real question.

But really though.

Tina Knowles’s necklace. Solange’s bracelets. THE CAPE. All white wardrobe crispness. Illuminati.

How many times have you seen the movies Armageddon and Pretty Woman?


Is it true you know them by heart and will shamelessly recite all the lines?

Yes. And when I am in Los Angeles, especially when I am in Hollywood, I am unstoppable on the Pretty Woman front. I lose all control. Everybody’s got a dream. What’s your dream? This is Haw-lee-woooooood.

Is there a new movie release I should check out?

Beyond the Lights, written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood.

Didn’t she write and direct Love & Basketball?

Yes, she did. She stays excellent.

Team Peeta?

He bakes and frosts things. He can throw a sack of flour. He is passionate and loyal and he is not intimidated by strength in women. I have a life-sized cut out of Peeta and sometimes, we pose for pictures.

You’re a real catch, aren’t you?

That’s what I am told.

What forthcoming movies is your body ready for?

Mockinjay (obviously), Fifty Shades of Grey (ALL THE LOLs, Jax Teller shoulda been Christian Grey), Fast & Furious SEVEN (RIP Paul Walker)

What is your deal with Ina Garten?

She is flawless. Her show is hypnotic. Her voice is soothing. Her hair is so shiny and if it wasn’t creepy, I would love to pet her hair a little. She wears the same shirt all the time but in different colors and often she pops the collar. She is unapologetic about enjoying fabulous things. She bakes chicken for her man every Friday. She gives not one damn about calories. There’s always room for more butter. She loves to surprise her friends. She has very attractive and preppy friends who often have useful skills like flower arranging and decorating. Her friend T.R. is devastatingly handsome. He is a catalog man—glossy yet rugged.

This one time, Ina (I pretend we’re on a first name basis) cooked a meal for some construction workers and decorated the table with construction accessories like a tarp and some paint brushes and a bucket. That really happened. It was such a great episode. She peppers her chatter with rhetorical questions and she is abundant, and rightly so, in self-confidence. She is brilliant. She and her husband Jeffrey seem to remain deeply in love. She won’t let Jeffrey get a boat but he really wants one. Also, Jeffrey loves dessert and when he peeks into the kitchen and hears of dessert, he scampers toward it. Sometimes, Ina “teaches” some hapless person how to prepare a fabulous meal and really she has done all the cooking but she makes the hapless person feel empowered anyhow. She often refers to her recipes as foolproof and, in fact, they are. Ina is also foolproof. I love her so much my wireless network is named “Barefoot Contessa,” after her show.

Seriously, though. The rhetorical questions:

How bad could that be?

How fun is that?

How’s that for easy?

How good does that look?

How good does this look?

Who could turn that down?

Isn’t that great?

Who wouldn’t want that for their birthday?

We need a nice cocktail for breakfast, don’t we?

Who wouldn’t like that for breakfast?

Who wouldn’t want that for dessert?

Isn’t that fantastic?

Why make regular raspberry sauce when you can make triple raspberry sauce?”

Now, who wouldn’t want to marry you if you made them this?

Who wouldn’t want to eat that?

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