Blerds!! Diasporacon & Beyond!
Two weekends ago Raheem and I went to Diasporacon, at quintessential event at Quinnipiac University that brought together comic book lovers from the African Diaspora and a term, I had previously wasn't familiar with #Blerds!
After a week of connections with our closest friends & family for Raheem's unveiling of his billboard in Times Square, my heart and spirit were ready for more community, creativity and inspiration.
After, sitting through Raheem's talk on graphic recording and capturing photos during Diasporacon, I decided to stay to support our friend Letif (Belcher Digital), who is an incredible photographer, poet and artist.
Prior to the panel, I asked as a group of us were sitting dialoguing before the panel, "What's a Blerd," my sister Quiana and our circle of friends responded in sync Black Nerd!
Nerd, has been a term that has stigmatized people who are intelligent, and maybe outwardly lack coolness, swagger and social acceptance.
As I sat down, and listened the panel express the importance of being a Black Nerd, and having a safe space being Black in cosplay, my ears perked up.
What I saw, was a group of creative, self-expressed, multifaceted Black people who weren't afraid to embrace their inner-nerd. I begin to notice , as someone who has been deeply engaged in social justice, that Blerds was another space of resistance.
I heard a group of intelligent, powerful multidimensional, entrepreneurs & artist who are & were taking up space.
A person working in tech, and enjoying cosplay who met the love of his life, who was also on the panel in a Black cosplay online group.
Key A woman, who is a professor of African American studies, pushing boundaries with not putting her cosplay characters into some racial box & loving the controversy of inspiring fellow Black female cosplayers to no no bounds.
The moderator Josh, poet aureate & cosplayer himself, who facilitated the panel in a reflective, connected space & asked questions that had a lot of depth!
Empress Jasmine an outspoken Black female cosplayer, awho resisted the notion that geeks or Black Nerds have to transform into some other self.
And of course my friend Letif, poet, photographer, multifaceted creative who learned through the culture of Black Nerds to fully embrace and love himself.
As someone who struggled in adolescence with fully loving my self, as a Black Nerd, I was reminded from this panel that Black people's ability to reinvent ourselves and affirm qualities that are sometimes stigmatized, is our superpower.
Special Shout out to all the Blerds & Black people fully loving and embracing themself.
Photos & Editing Creative Direction By Me
Photo Editing: Raheem Nelson