Now listen, Linda. I’m mad at everyone who DID NOT tell me that there was a convention for the black and nerdy. My people. MY. PEOPLE. Y’all fake. In July I went to DC to attend BlerDCon and LIVED. Do you hear me? I. Lived.
BlerDCon is in its 3rd year and is a Comicon meets conference in celebration of black nerd culture. What makes this event exciting is that there are panels and talks on different nerdy genres: wrestling, anime, sci-fi, social justice. That’s the conference part, and there are your standard celebrity speakers and vendors. I probably found out about this event earlier this year and got so excited. I had to go. Then I decided that I was going to do my dissertation on black nerds, so I ended up with a press pass to do interviews!
I stayed at the Courtyard Arlington, which was right across the street from the Hyatt Regency Crystal City, where the event was being hosted. At the last minute (a few days before the convention) I decided that I was going to cosplay (costume play). I did not have any designs on an in-depth ass cosplay; I literally took most of my pieces out of my closet, but I did Daria and Numba 5 from Code Name: Kids Next door.
Walking into BlerDCon on Friday was a profoundly moving experience. I sat in the lobby for 20 minutes just watching people of all ages milling around in cosplay. I got a bit emotional There were DJs and a gaming hall. If you’ve never seen a bunch of black nerds in cosplay jamming to Frankie Beverly in all manner of costumes.
It was a fantastic sight. I cannot overstate how at home I felt. There weren’t just black nerds but nerds from all over the spectrum: race, gender, sexual orientation, age. Most people I interviewed expressed the same feeling of belonging that I had been experiencing at this con, which says a lot about how the event is organized.
I attended BlerDCon alone and was legit nervous about having to put myself out there to people and make friends, but it was so easy. Being in a space full of nerds meant that most of us were awkward, but no one was afraid to just strike up conversations, especially in panels. I made quite a few connections that I’ll be looking for next year. I ended up sharing my experience with Roberta and Brittany who were amazing! I had a freaking blast.
I attended panels on women in the sci-fi space, social justice and anime, and nerd tattooing. There were so many great talks that it was hard to pick. I had to pace myself since I was also interviewing folks and I’m still an introvert. Even though I was having a great time, I still had to honor hitting my people limit each day.
Like most cons, there was a vendor marketplace with fantastic art, comics, cosplay gear. So many things. My pocket cried a bit after the money I spent, but I have no regrets. This is an event that I am already excited to attend in 2020. I’m even putting together my cosplays early! Have you been to a con for black nerds?
Love and Light,