While at Anime NYC, I attended quite a few panels but one of my favorites took place on Sunday Afternoon, The Blerds in Geekdom. Hosted by Hilton George the Founder of Blerdcon, other panelist include DJ Taylor-Senpai, Jacqueline-Elizabeth Cottrell of Noir Caesar which is a creative agency and cosplayer Xero Gravity.
What is a blerd? Blerd is a combination between the words Black and Nerd, essentially a cool nickname for Black Nerds. Ever since I’ve come across the term, it is something that I wear with pride.
During the panel, this was a topic for discussion as well as the rise in black or black inspired media. Television series, movies and erc using Black Panther, Black Lighting and Luke Cage as examples.
Black representation in anime was also put on the chopping block. (very briefly) The consensus was that LeSean Thomas, whom is at the fore front can’t do it alone.
Hilton George’s answer to that call was blerDCon.
BlerDcon is a convention that is rooted in Blerd culture while being inclusive to other marginalized groups. LGBTQ, the disabled and other POC (people of color). Blerdcon celebrates creatives, fans, producers who are and have been contributing to the community but don’t get the recognition. BC is a three-day event that operates 24/7 during the slated operation.
The commentary in this panel was relatable and made me laugh because of the familiarity. While some of the testimonials were similar to my upbringing there were things that I couldn’t relate to. George said something along the lines of being a nerd everyone cosplays but the true cosplay doesn’t take place at cons but rather in your daily life. That’s where you mask is really worn, you’re only the truest version of yourself amongst other nerds at cons.
Too keep it real with you, I can totally see this being true for a lot of people. For me my inner nerd or my love for nerdy things has always been worn on my sleeve so to speak. I held fast to that idea for as long as I can remember. The idea of this duality was still interesting none the same. To be more so honest it’s kind of sad that people feel the need to suppress themselves so they can navigate through life without ridicule. I’ve never pretended to be anyone other than myself and have received backlash for it but that’s a burden that I am willing to bear.
Something else that stuck out the most to me is the advocating for being apart of the change within the nerd community. “If not you then who.” The founder urged people to get involved in the community in some shape or form and be part of helping it continue to flourish. This is something that I agree with whole hearted. We (me included) need to be more pro active in creating safe spaces, stories and the other things encompassed in the entire spectrum of the nerd community
All in all, I had a fun time. Thank you to Anime NYC for having us. Thank you to the panelist and other participants that made this possible.
Stay tune for more coverage for Anime NYC.
For more from blerDcon