Has there ever been a celebrity partnership more improbable than Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart?
When the pair first teamed up to cohost the VH1 cooking talk show, Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party — which returns for a second season on Monday, Oct. 16 at 10 p.m. ET — it seemed like a joke. Martha Stewart, 76, the queen of domesticity, and Snoop Dogg, 45, a hip-hop legend known for hits like “Gin and Juice,” are far apart culturally, racially and generationally.
But somehow their relationship works. Watching the show, it never feels forced or insincere, like it’s been fabricated by TV executives for ratings. Snoop and Martha legitimately enjoy each other. “I’ve never met anyone like Martha Stewart,” Snoop once said of the woman who’s older than his mother by a decade. “When we come together, it’s a natural combination of love, peace and harmony.”
Here are six lessons we learned from Snoop and Martha’s unlikely relationship.
1. Never Forget That People Are People
When different generations try to interact, they mostly focus on how they’re different, not how they’re similar. Not so with Snoop and Martha.
“She different than what I’m accustomed to,” Snoop once explained about his Potluck Dinner Party cohost. “But then again she’s so what I’m accustomed to. ’Cause she people.”
Martha might look different from anybody he’s ever considered a friend, but as Snoop learned, “If you hang out with her and chill with her, she just like anybody else.”
Stop thinking that person from another generation is an alien, and you might realize you have more in common than you think.
2. Education Goes Both Ways
What makes Snoop and Martha's relationship so refreshing is that it goes against every teacher/student stereotype. With their age difference, you’d expect Martha to be the teacher and Snoop the wide-eyed pupil. That’s sometimes true, and other times it’s not. Those roles are interchangeable. As they’ve both claimed repeatedly about each other, they’re “teaching me how to learn.”
That’s not just lip service. They get sincerely excited when explaining the new skills they’ve acquired. “Martha taught me how to make a pizza,” Snoop once declared. “I’m talking about from scratch!” As for Stewart, she was stunned that the rapper taught her “how to cook bacon in a new way.”
3. Don’t Make Generational Assumptions
While guests on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, Snoop and Martha played a game called Never Have I Ever, where people reveal the embarrassing things they have (or haven’t) done. Martha confessed that she’d recently sexted and been to a nude beach. Both Ellen and guest Anna Kendrick were shocked, but Snoop just smiled, raised his fist and shouted, “Martha!”
Don’t think a woman in her 70s can go to a nude beach and send sexy text messages? Take a cue from Snoop Dogg, and stop acting so surprised.
4. Get Outside of Your Bubble
From the beginning, Martha made an effort not just to understand Snoop’s world, but to coexist in it. When asked how Snoop had influenced her, she immediately replied, “I’m going home with a whole new lingo.” It wasn’t just her vocabulary that’s been changed, but her fashion sense. “I’m wearing a T-shirt,” Martha said, sincerely surprised. “I’m wearing bling. I never wear bling!”
If you have any doubt that Snoop is making the same effort, check out their partnership on the ABC game show $100,000 Pyramid. It’s possible that Snoop already knew what a duvet, ottoman, sconce and wainscoting are, but it’s just as likely that his relationship with Martha inspired him to explore the world outside his bubble.
We all live in bubbles — whether it’s a bubble of age, geography, politics or religious belief—and we rarely venture outside it. But if Snoop Dogg can recognize wainscotting and Martha Stewart can wear bling, we can all try a little harder.
5. Don’t Pretend to Be Something You’re Not
Martha doesn’t pretend to be a rapper from the hood. “I ain’t never smoked (marijuana) with Martha,” Snoop confirmed. “I’ve smoked around her, but she don’t partake.” Martha just laughs at suggestions that she’s gotten high with Snoop. “The moment I signed the contract, I vowed to never, ever step into (his) trailer,” she’s said with a laugh.
Martha isn’t the only one being true to herself. Snoop may have a reputation as a hard-as-nails ghetto icon, but around Martha he’s shown his softer side, like when he freaked out while trying to pick live lobsters out of a tank. “Don't talk to them,” Martha tried to reassure him. “They're not your friends, they’re your dinner.”
6. Be Respectful
Snoop is anything but timid — you can check out his verbal sparring with the late insult comic legend Don Rickles in the upcoming AARP web series Dinner with Don — but he also knows that not every situation calls for wisecracks.
During an interview at this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, Snoop was asked “Is Martha Stewart a G?”— a “G” being hip-hop shorthand for “gangsta” — and Snoop responded, “A double G. She’s a grandmother and a good lady.”
Even 10 years ago, you never would've caught him saying something so kind and respectful to one of his elders. But as Snoop recently observed, "As I became a man, and seeing that wasn't the right way, I put a U-turn in and I changed direction."
Eric Spitznagel has written for Playboy, Vanity Fair and the New York Times Magazine, among others.