T he term “blerds”—a nickname for black nerds— has been created due to the abundance of black nerds in pop culture.Years ago, being known as a black nerd meant having weird interests. The recent rise of blerds in music, TV, cosplay and more has created a positive view on black nerds and more opportunities for black people in pop culture.
“I’m a black nerd and that was illegal until 2003.”
— Donald Glover
According to CNN, Donald Glover— Çhildish Gambino— used this quote in one of his Comedy Central stand-ups describing how black nerds were viewed. Being a nerd was already considered weird for most millennials growing up, and it was even weirder for a blerd. Many blerds were expected to have particular interests based on where they grew up, their peers, and their friends.
So when they took an interest in comics, anime, certain music and TV shows, they were viewed a certain way.
So how did being a blerd become a movement? Thanks to a growing number of them in pop culture—Glover for example—, blerds have been embraced and paved their way from comics to TV shows.
For example, blerds have paved their way in cosplay at well known pop cultures cons like Comic Con and Dragon Con. Many American comics and offer limited black characters—superheroes and villians— so the blerd community has made it their mission to remodel characters to fit them.
Similar to cosplayer Chaka Cumberbatch—the creator of #29DaysofBlackCosplay— in a Forbes article, black cosplayers have taken initiative to welcome and broadcast that they exist in the world. They voiced that not only do they exist, but they can also dominate cosplaying as well as any other race.
Because of acts like this, more opportunities are opening up for African Americans in TV and movie roles. More opportunities have opened up to new characters and characters that were written as a different race. For example, growing up as a kid, Jimmy in SuperMan was known to be a young, red-headed Caucasian guy. Now on the “Supergirl” —on the CW—, Jimmy is a young African-American guy. Moreover, that’s just one of a many roles that blerds were proud to see.
Blerds have even created a movement in music. Artists like Gambino, Tyler the Creator and the whole Odd Future group has all proved that being a blerd or being different can prosper in Hip-Hop.
Blerds have shown that race should not be a factor when it comes to having certain interests. The blerd movement has not only made it “cool” to be one but being one can create more possibilities them in pop culture.