10 of the Greatest Black TV Nerds of All Time

TV Blerds

Roger ‘Raj’ Thomas

What’s Happening’s Raj, portrayed by Ernest Thomas, was one of the first Black nerds to hit prime-time television with a major sense of confidence and charisma. Despite wearing nerdy thick-rimmed glasses, being engulfed in academics and being concerned about saving print media, Raj always had a nerdy sense of “cool” about him. As This Was Television’s Erin Canty recalled of the cool Blerd, he was “just a high school kid who wanted a typewriter [but]… you wanted to know him. You wanted to be his friend. And if you were small, Black and the least bit nerdy, there’s a good chance Raj was your hero.”

Black TV Nerds

Dwayne Wayne

Erin Canty describes Dwayne Wayne from A Different World as having “all the major components of Black nerd-dom: He was a math whiz, wore not one but two pairs of glasses (at the same time),” and he generally had bad luck with women. Of course, that was until he ended up sweeping Whitley off her feet. While Kadeem Hardison’s character was a major TV Blerd of the late ’80s and early ’90s, his nerdy fashion statement still thrives today. With “nerd fashion” picking up steam, it’s far from uncommon to run into young Black men sporting Dwayne’s famous double glasses look. Even NBA star Dwyane Wade has been spotted rocking the Dwayne Wayne-inspired glasses.

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  1. You needed to add animated characters… It would have been really good to see Valerie from 'Josie and the Pussycats' wasn't on the list. She was like Velma from Scooby Do except really hot and sultry not "nerd sexy."

  2. Great list. Striking that there is only one female blerd! We need more representation on screen?

  3. Sorry! Meant to put a period. 🙂