Geek culture has transformed beyond the basement-dwelling, Revenge of the Nerds-esque stereotypes that populated earlier mainstream outlets to differentiate “nerds” from those deemed socially acceptable.
Black nerds, shortened to “blerds” in the community, only had the likes of Steven J Urkel as representation to how a “geek” or “nerd” should look like according to these creators. As the wheels of time keep turning it is apparent that nerds are just like other subgroups with people running the spectrum of looks and behaviors. There is not one defining factor of a nerd, or geek except to be a fan of things that are under that umbrella.
Blerd life can be difficult with rampant racism and gatekeepers wanting to quiz you about every episode of Dragon Ball Z that exists. Often, other Blerds can be your worst enemy as there are far too many who still find it difficult to believe that, yes, black women love anime too.
Through out this trans-formative era of blerd culture comes a a new challenger – the Celebrity Blerd.
With representation finally increasing with the likes of phenomenons like Black Panther and recent casting as Zoe Kravitz as Catwoman, fans have emerged among the celebrity crowd. Though surprising to some people celebrities are people too. Repping their favorite series, and attending conventions have become more prevalent as many celebrity blerds showcase their fandoms.
At this past San Diego Comic Con, NFL players Marcus Davenport (New Orleans Saints) and Adam Gettis (Atlanta Falcons) joined My Hero Academia voice actors to talk about how much they love the series. WWE star Xavier Woods is a frequent convention attendee and cosplayer who has a video game YouTube channel called Up Up Down Down.
Here are three celebrity blerds that have been recently making the nerd scene rounds:
Michael B Jordan
MBJ has already starred in quite a bit of nerd properties such as Fantastic 4, Black Panther, and currently has the super powered Raising Dion on Netflix. Recently, the 32 year old actor released a collaboration with Coach to feature Naruto themed items. The limited edition collection is a part of the 20 year anniversary of the ninja themed anime.
“With my name on this collection, it was important to design pieces that represent my cultural influences and my community; pieces that I could see my friends, family and fans wearing with pride,” Jordan said in a press release.
Many blerds have voiced criticism of the collection and Jordan’s Blerd status. However, having a fashion house such as Coach acknowledge the influence of Japanese anime by featuring a prominent series and utilizing the vision of a black man is a major Blerd accomplishment.
Megan Thee Stallion
Megan Pete has been having the best summer – a literal hot girl summer. She is blowing up the charts with her summer anthem and album, Fever, that was released this past May. She is also a member of XXL’s 12th edition of their Freshman Class. Pete then appeared on the August 2019 issue of Paper Magazine as one of the hottest (and coldest) heroes from the recent mega popular anime My Hero Academia, Todoroki Shoto! He is a teenage hero attending the fictitious high school of U.A. to become a licensed superhero.Todoroki has both the powers of fire and ice as evidenced by his signature white and red hair.
Megan Thee Stallion wrote on Instagram “All my hotties know how much I love anime and how Todoroki is my favorite character from MHA! Thank you Paper Magazine for giving TODOROKI TINA her shine 😭 shout out to the mf dream team.”
Rapper, song writer, and producer T-Pain’s music was certainly a staple of mid-2000s college parties with his hits Buy U a Drank and I’m Sprung. Recently, the award winning musician has been making his rounds visibly at conventions such as Dragoncon and Twitchcon. He’s been a regular performer at Twitchcon official parties. This year he DJed (photo below by Twitter user Geminiwolfe)