Should Blerds Have to Justify Their Lifestyle to Fit in With Pop Culture?

Another day, another time that I’ve had to justify why I like certain things, why I read certain books and why I talk or act in a certain way. So I was hanging out with a new crowd of folks I recently met, and we start talking about music and pop culture.

Everyone around me is discussing the latest hip-hop jam, what happened on the last episode of one of those housewife reality shows, or what ignorant a**hole we’re all mad at today on Twitter. Ordinarily, I would feign interest and even add an “I know, right?!” every now and then. But this time I literally had NO idea what everyone was talking about, so I just sorta smiled and nodded as they chatted.

Then all of a sudden, one of my new friends asked my opinion about a particular recording artist and of course I said, “oh, I’m actually not familiar with him” (honestly, I was dying to talk about Alabama Shakes, but I didn’t bother to bring them up). The group kind of paused for a sec, then my friend said “oh I forgot, you have a Black alternative experience that’s so different from the rest of us.” I’m sure she didn’t mean to come across as condescending as she did, so I didn’t really react to it, but this is the type of comment that generally gets an eye roll from me.

First of all, continuing to view other Black folks as different or weird is precisely the type of mindset that divides us and doesn’t honor our various quirks. And second of all, in this age of the nerd, is it really even accurate to consider us “alternative?” Despite our growing presence in pop culture and on sites like Black Girl Nerds, people still see us as an “other”?

Hello, people. It’s time we embrace the fact that the nerd is omnipresent and is not just a fad. We’re not radical and, frankly, there’s nothing new about Black girl nerds. We’ve been here for years, despite the fact that we are finally getting recognized. And we’re not going anywhere.

Source: Candice at Black Girl Nerds

9 Awesome Comics Represented at the Black Comix Arts Festival To Add To Your Collection

Last month, The Afronauts launched by attending the inaugural Black Comix Arts Festival presented by the Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Foundation. The Black Comix Arts Festival’s mission is to celebrate the creativity and subjectivity of African-Americans in the comic arts and popular visual culture, and it included a grand exposition, kids’ activities, special guest artists’ presentations, film screenings, cosplay events and much more. The event was held at the San Francisco Public Library, the Children’s Creativity Museum and City View at METREON. The Afronauts were the only media visibly in attendance, and we were able to interview half of the 28 artists/writers in attendance.

Here are some of the comics we would like to highlight from the event:



Siba is a young girl who is known for her huge appetite, kind heart and loyalty to her friends. Her two childhood best friends, Kevin and Jeff, are troublemakers. They always get into fights, stealing from shops and pulling pranks on people. Together they enjoy their childhood sharing the good times in the neighborhood.

Christopher Garner and Sebastian A. Jones:



Hidden from his kin and sheltered from his future, Dusu is raised among the Galemren (Wild Elves) in the secret heart of the Ugoma Jungle, a world in which he does not belong. But Dusu is not entirely human either. He is on the path to something more. Dusu must focus his rage and become the savior of Ugoma before all he loves is destroyed.

‘The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore’ Offers up Laughs — and Sincerity

The sign above the 50th Street train stop says it all: “The Nightly Show: Evenings at 11:30 p.m. after The Daily Show. No pressure.” With that two-word quip, The Nightly Show highlights what it does best: being as honest as it is clever. To fill Emmy Award-magnet Stephen Colbert’s former time slot – which just happens to be following 19- time Emmy winner Jon Stewart’s time slot – seems like a whole lot of pressure for a new comedy, yet The Nightly Show isn’t trying to fill anyone’s shoes or “replace” anybody. Instead, Larry Wilmore and his team are carving their lane through their own approach: sincerity. The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore is a breath of fresh air by being the most sincere new show in comedy… and it’s hilarious.

Black Nerd Problems sat down with three brilliant minds behind the show and asked them the tough questions the world wants to hear: Who rides with you in a zombie apocalypse?

(The answer: The zombie apocalypse team includes Richard Sherman, and four iterations of Samuel L. Jackson: Pulp Fiction Samuel L. Jackson, Mace Windu Samuel L. Jackson, The Negotiator Samuel L. Jackson and Snakes on a Plane Samuel L. Jackson.)

The main man in front of the camera, Larry Wilmore, has been in comedy a long time, and you loved his work before you even knew it was him who wrote it. Since performing at talent shows in his teens and sneaking into comedy clubs underage where he once saw comedy legend Richard Pryor, Wilmore saw signs – “indicators,” he calls them – that comedy would be the passion he would pursue in his career. That decision led him to writing for classic comedy shows like In Living Color, and later becoming the creator, writer and executive producer of The Bernie Mac Show. Wilmore spent years behind the camera before deciding to step in front, and now with his own show, he’s bringing a new feeling of candor and endearment to news-based comedy.

“We are the transfer student that was bused in from another neighborhood that everyone’s getting to know,” Wilmore said on defining the identity of The Nightly Show

Keeping with the themes of the show, Black Nerd Problems tested Wilmore with a “Keep It 100” question:

BNP: Before a new Black character joins The Walking Dead, an old Black character has to be killed. If comedy were The Walking Dead, which Black celebrity would you kill for your show to be successful? Keep in mind: the success would be on par with the person you kill. So if you kill (Bill) Cosby, your show would adopt his current public disapproval.

“I love her to death; she’s my girl, but… sorry, I’m going to have to poison (TV director and producer) Shonda Rhimes’ tea.”

The boss of “Keep It 100” did just that, and, fortunately, Wilmore won’t have to slip Rhimes the nightshade for his show to be successful. With a strong start as host, along with endless opportunities for discussing topics and highlighting new perspectives on his notably diverse panels, The Nightly Show is getting comfortable in its home on Comedy Central. Kick back on the sofa and pay attention – I expect the “transfer student” team will have Emmys of their own.

Source: Jordan Calhoun. To read more about BNP’s interview with the masterminds behind the The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmoreclick here

One Girl’s Journey of Learning to Embrace Her ‘Nerdiness’

I spent more years than I’d like to admit being … myself. If you know me, you’d know that means an amalgamation of bad jokes, lame interests and awkward encounters. This also at one point included anime, video games (“Spyro the Dragon” to be exact), tinkering around with my mini toy microscope and spending all of my free time daydreaming about my alternate life as a mermaid.

In 2006 when high school struck, I realized that there was no room for anything I was remotely interested in. It seemed the only thing anyone really cared about were “jams,” basketball and trap music (which, of course, differed from my musical tastes at the time). As much as I don’t like publicly confessing, I had only recently been introduced to R&B and hip-hop in middle school, and still went pretty hard for bands and movie soundtracks (shout out to Danny Elfman and Hans Zimmer).

I didn’t realize it wasn’t cool for my then-15-year-old self to rush home after school to binge watch the Family Channel. I didn’t know mimicking Tyler Perry’s Madea character in public was actually embarrassing. I sure as hell didn’t realize openly admitting I had read each line in the entire Twilight series, but had never opened up a Harry Potter book, was considered social suicide.

The thought never crossed my mind that there might be other brown-skinned girls in the world who’d, like me, seen all the Lord of the Rings movies and attempted to learn how to speak Elvish in The Fellowship. For the longest time, I’d accredited my borderline nerdish tendencies to my older half-brother, who introduced me to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy and alternative Christian rock. In fact, up until then, I’d tried my hardest to hide my secret love for these things under an urbanite blanket of social acceptance. But as they say, all that is done in the darkness [of my basement] would surely come to light.

Now here was my dilemma. I was always under the impression that there was a specific type of nerd. The ones who got good grades, were a part of the science clubs, spoke to no one unless it revolved around schoolwork, and were the apple of their parents’/teachers’ eyes. No one ever mentioned to me that you could be neither of these things and still feel the effects of “nerdom.” I was almost never compatible with any of my peers and never fit in with anyone. My grades weren’t high enough for the geek squad, but good enough to be scrutinized by the more popular crowd. I felt like an outsider when I tried to join my school’s business club run almost entirely by students of East-Indian descent. To the Black kids, I was much too alternative to sit at their table. And for my brownies, I quite simply did not make the cut.

Read more from Lindsey Addawoo at Black Girl Nerds

How Larry Wilmore’s Program Is Diversifying Nightly Talk Shows

Comedy Central has had its turn at bat trying to add a little color to late night. The short-lived Chappelle’s Show will live on forever in our hearts despite its host, shrewd comedian Dave Chappelle, getting out early while the getting was good (if you ask him, at least). David Alan Grier’s news satire, Chocolate News, made its best effort but wasn’t quite smart enough for an audience still in withdrawal from the Chappelle magic. The network’s most successful attempt at late night was Mind of Mencia and that show had more hate-watchers than a Dallas Cowboys home game (and about the same effectiveness). They just couldn’t seem to find the right formula.

Who would have thought that all you needed in the end was Stephen Colbert’s old time slot, a Daily Show alumnus and a fairly gimmickless format? Add all these together and you get The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore (originally meant to be titled The Minority Report). At first glance, the comedian’s new late-night follow-up to The Daily Show does a lot to mirror its big brother, hosted by Jon Stewart. You get a sharp, savvy monologue that’s half “A” block news rundown, half standup routine, and highly effective at both.

The real treat here is a raw fearlessness not seen on Comedy Central since Saint Chappelle himself. Not the “Senior Black Correspondent” Daily Show fans have grown to love nor a black version of Colbert’s hyper conservative caricature (modeled after Bill O’Reilly), Wilmore is unburdened by any mandate to play a character. When he expresses his disenchantment with Al Sharpton (“You don’t have to respond to every black emergency! You’re not Black Batman!), it’s not a well-landed Stewart gag that he’ll waste tweets clarifying later. When he stops to place extra exclamation points on his attitude toward Bill Cosby’s Dead Sea Scrolls’ worth … because “laundry lists” are too short … of rape allegations (“That motherf***er did it!”), that’s him talking.

The courageousness goes even further as The Nightly Show follows Wilmore’s well-crafted monologue with a panel discussion. Unless you count those “after-party” shows that talk about the popular show everyone just watched like Talking Dead, panels are rarely done with late-night comedians (with the exception of Bill Maher) because it means they control less variables for a funny show. And make no mistake, the panelists are not mere ringers. From cerebral hip-hop artist Talib Kweli and comedian John Leguizamo to news personality Soledad O’Brien and columnist Jamilah Lemieux, these are opinionated people of mention that give as good as they get.

Read more from Oz Longworth at Black Nerd Problems