Celebrating 10 Years of Black Nerd Problems

May 15th, 2024 marks our 10-year anniversary! To celebrate our 10-year anniversary, some of the Black Nerd Problems staff reminisce on some of our favorite nerdy moments on the site: the recaps that defined our television watching habits; the comic reviews and editorials that set our comic book pull lists on fire; the anime and animated phenoms that made us weep, believe in the power of friendship, or scream into our pillows; the cosplay; the goodbyes to television fixtures; the podcasts; the nerd rap; the Star Wars musings; the #GuiltyPleasureConfessionals; the value of food in media and in real life; our fave cartoon crossover adventures; the Black AF book reviews; the sobering reality of actual Black Nerd Problems, and so much more!

BNP is where I first cut my teeth on comic books and comic reviewing. I fondly look back and think about reading Bitch Planet, Monstress and Saga from Image comics and the comic book community that I found online, especially with other women, gender-expansive folks. (Leslie and I took turns reviewing Sleepless for the site, which was a wonderful, wonderful time–we would also call up each other on the phone after a new issue had dropped and nerd out about it.) I am also so grateful to have had a safe place to introduce the BNP readership to creatives operating in the indie, small press, and crowdfunding spaces. Pearl Low, Jamila Roswer and Robyn Smith, Charlot Kristensen, Virginia Paine, Kim Hyun Sook, Keezy Young, Joamette Gil, Danny Lore, Priya Huq, Suzanne Walker and Wendy Xu, Tasha Spillett-Sumner, and Natasha Donovan were just a sampling of folks I reviewed, did coverage on, and made sure our readership knew about them.

BNP is also the same place where I was able to write more about manga–Shojo and Josei manga, especially. Back in 2014, I wrote my heart out about manga for girls who grew up into women by way of the A Love Letter to Josei Manga editorial. I was overwhelmed by the online response and found so many new online friends and mutuals who also loved manga that catered to girls and women and gave recommendations, consoled me with manga series that did not go the distance, and more. This affirmed me when I came back years later with A Love Letter to Josei Manga Part Two, and these continue to be written pieces that people–especially manga readers connected with and choose to connect back to me on this site.

I gladly credit Black Nerd Problems for being a space for me to connect with other women and gender expansive folks who not only loved comics on the indie and more mainstream fronts, but also manga, web comics, zines, and more. I have been seen the rise and fall of careers of some folks in comics, publications, the popularity of some crowdfunding platforms, and more. I’ve seen creatives who once started their careers in comics with contributing to anthologies or crowdfunding mini comics to go on to make their debuts with graphic novels, welcome parenthood, travel to other countries with their craft, work in gaming, and the list goes on and continues to grow.

I have been honored to see all the different layers and nuances of fans and creatives who have engaged with BNP and all of us who have been part of contributing to the site in some fashion. I know Black Nerd Problems means something different to us all, yet I think the connection is perhaps the great gift that this site all of the years of it existing and all of us existing all with it. Thank you so much for allowing me to come along for the ride and hanging tight with us all these years! –Carrie

BNP has given a home to so many ideas and thinkers, and it gave me a place to find my voice. I refined my love of gaming, anime, pro wrestling, and comics with this site, along with learning to be funny on the Internet (by which I mean funny on Twitter). I have always felt somewhat isolated in my nerddom and in building my skills talking about it. Meeting Omar Holmon by chance at a poetry slam in 2013 and seeing his Gaara gourd backpack helped me see how much bigger the universe could be if I took the chance. I wrote a ridiculous article about the equally ridiculous Sonic the Hedgehog second trailer, and I’ve been on a journey of mixing blerddom with humor ever since. I couldn’t be more grateful. 

Beyond that, though, I learned that black nerd problems extend beyond the comical into the realms of introspection, grief, and community. I have worked alongside some brilliant and kind creators to be part of something that I can truly say includes some of my proudest work, and I’m excited to see where it goes from here! From A Silent Voice to Monster Hunter (2 games, and a movie review so angry it couldn’t be published) to The Last of Us, BNP has allowed writers and audiences to come together and witness pop culture and one another in a truly necessary way. – D.J.

In the intervening years before I joined BNP, I met our Editor-in-Chief Will Evans through our mutual slam poetry compatriot Lauren Bullock (whom I’d later co-write one of my favorite articles I’ve done for the site). A handful of conversations about writing, pop culture, and the ever important throughline of my continual online existence that is Destiny later, I applied to be a comics writer. Within about a week, they let me cut my teeth on my very first editorial giving me the freedom to tackle the complexities of Asian American representation (and then they let me write a sequel years later). And then they let me do even more, from reviews to interviews to recaps to random fanfiction that I get to pass off as editorial to a weekly podcast. I’ve grown a lot as a writer thanks to the confidence of the people who let me speak my piece and then a little more than that.

And then there was the whole time that during the peak of the pandemic where we converted what originally was a small discord to play even more Destiny and the occasional Jack Box game night rapidly evolved into a small nerdy bastion of the internet. That was pretty cool to help form. It’s been pretty cool to be part of a Hugo-nominated Fanzine I gotta say.- Mikkel

There have been many (many) long car rides, lunch breaks at various jobs, dates, first encounters, family reunions, and a slew of other awkwardly captive audiences where I have just unloaded about the intersection of pop culture lore and the Black experience. Black Nerd Problems was the first place I was platformed to talk my shit about how my politics, my childhood, my family dynamics, and the world at large were deeply impacted by the media I consumed.

To say via BNP that I earned my stripes as a content creator, editor, and critic…A journalist!?! Severe understatement. I tip my hat to anyone and everyone who has contributed to this brilliant machine of unfettered and honest culture. Real rap raw. Where else can it be memorialized that Simone Missick and Renée Elise-Goldsberry had me blushing on camera? Frantz

There is no simple way to say what Black Nerd Problems means to me, but I’ll give it a go. Everything. About seven years ago, I was just a simple girl who loved movies – sure, I knew every word of the Lord of The Rings trilogy and was raised on VHSes of Star Trek and Star Wars. That didn’t make me a nerd. The creators at BNP thought otherwise. I was asked to write a guest piece and began a journey I never thought I would be on today. 

They let us talk our sh*t. I’ll never forget Izetta’s article, that told no lies about the very real Black Nerd Problem with the new Power Puff Girls character Bliss. Izetta held nothing back and told precisely how stereotypes create a false sense of representation in media. People loved and hated it, and I said… BNP, you sonofabitch, I’m in.

From my first guest piece, I wanted to show what it is to be a Black woman in media. BNP let me be a full Black person and all the nuances of that—my need to express excellence, ways to cope, and how to be analytical of the industry. I’ve loved how articles have evolved and become even more introspective and raw. I’ve learned to be vulnerable and unapologetic. I found a love for interviewing with BNP. I had the wild opportunity to interview people like William Jackson Harper, the cast of Lovecraft Country, and the late great Michael K Williams

We’ve done some of the funniest videos like, Black Students at Hogwarts – anything Co-Founders Omar and Will do. The content embodies the Black Nerd Joy we all want. I never fancied myself a writer or content creator, but the day BNP believed in my voice, I unlocked so much power. Now, I’m a member of the Writer’s Guild of America East, I’ve written over 100 articles, and I’ve started a career in podcasting and TV and film production. Black Nerd Problems has championed so many writers’ and creators’ dreams into reality that it’s time to call them the godfava of Blerds. Okay, maybe that’s too far? Truly, Black Nerd Problems has touched the lives of its writers and brought new perspectives to all its readers for literally ten years. It sounds corny, but I know BNP has been crucial in the advancement of my work, and I cannot thank them enough. Ten more years – plus ultra!! Aisha

I was originally aiming to be here for a short time. I knew of Will and Omar through poetry slam. Saw Omar in person a couple of times (he probably doesn’t remember), knew about Will virtually, but he moved before we met in the flesh for the first time (this year). Since my partner knew Omar, he asked on my behalf if I was able to join. That was a major miscommunication because I literally only wanted to do one article and dip. Before I knew it, I was on the Slack channel, and…I never spoke up about it I just let…the blerd love happen. I honestly list this as one of the best passive aggressive “not speaking up when I should’ve” moments in my life.

Black Nerd Problems expands on what constitutes “nerdery.” It made me realize we limit the definition of the word to just comics and video games. Granted, I got to nerd out over some of my favorite video games to enact violence; but I also got to talk about important matters across media like colorism. Black Nerd Problems helped me showcase how moments of joy and critique can happen in the same place. If it wasn’t for the editors allowing me to explore my love of food media, I wouldn’t have been able to get my essay anthologized in The Best American Food Writing 2023 by talking about how the Black Thanksgiving lineup runs like an RPG. I also made one of my favorite pieces I ever wrote to this date where I wrote a personal essay about my experience during the WGA strike and comparing it to my favorite food media shows.

Black folks are funny as hell, but Black Nerd Problems Slack is probably one of the funniest places to exist. #KeithHotTakes is my favorite virtual roundtable where the entire writing staff is summoned just by the pure gall and spiciness of one of our beloved writers Keith Cleveland‘s hot takes. Whenever I hear the Slack sound back to back to back, I know what time it is. It feels like I’m being plucked from my measly duties and transported into a portal of jalapeños where the entire writing staff is like “WHAT?!” And I exist in the middle of bliss, cracking up at my desk. There’s truly nowhere I’d rather be than at an awkward place to laugh, and my Slack blowing up from the wildest hot takes. Honestly, whenever Black Nerd Problems get the television deal we so rightly deserve I’m pitching that as our unscripted lineup.

I haven’t looked back since. Being with Black Nerd Problems allowed me to flourish in ways I couldn’t imagine. I flourished into a media critic, a food nerd/food writer because the blerds believed in me. I made lifelong friends I would log into my PS5 and see we’re vibing to the same game (Persona 5 Royal crew) and can’t wait to talk to them about it the next day.

Love y’all. Khadjiah

Black Nerd Problems helped make me the writer that I am today. Will and Omar assembled a Justice League Unlimited collection of some of the most incredible prose writers to put fingers to keys or pen to page and counting myself among that number has been incredible. From that first Questions White People Want Black People to Ask Black People video, I know I’d found my nerd family. My first piece for the site was literally about finding my people in the MCU’s depiction of Black Panther and Wakanda. I don’t know any other publication that would let me wax poetic about Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse (before Ms. Robbie hit mainstream with her billion dollar movie, thank you) and Superman having a donk that’ll have Nightwing hitting some extra squats to defend his title but also allow me to pull back the curtain on the incredible costume work done by Judiana Markovsky for Captain America: Civil War.

Since Jordan slid in my Twitter DMs to ask me to be in that parody video back in 2016, I’ve written recaps, reviews, odes to Broadway musicals, and love letters to the greatest fighting game series of all time. I’ve made videos about Shakespeare and talked for hours about movies that flopped. I’ve spoken at conferences and conventions because of Black Nerd Problems. I met my husband because of Black Nerd Problems. I cultivated my creative voice because of Black Nerd Problems. BNP has been my people for years now and so many more to come. How’s that for a found family story? –Brittany

I joined Black Nerd Problems after my best friend sent me an application from them for Editorial Interns. He knew how much I wanted to work with them after seeing a clip of Omar talking about what he would do if he attended the X-Men’s school. That was back in April 2018, and some 6 years later, it’s still one of the best decisions I’ve made. Though I stick mostly to behind the scenes, I’ve had opportunities to early review shows like Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy and HBO’s The Outsider, talk about my time at my favorite convention (which I’m now on the staff of as an assistant director), discuss my guilty pleasure movies like Return of the Living Dead and Teen Witch, interview authors, review books, and do movie reviews of 2021’s Candyman and Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves.

I am also forever grateful for the BNP discord. I got to be part of the game nights and create trivia games for it (which I absolutely loved). My over-the-top laugh even got me turned into a custom emoji that can be used in the BNP discord and on Twitch. And I cannot talk enough about how Mikkel asking if anyone wants to learn how to play D&D changed my life and found me a community I never would have otherwise. I have been running with the same table since the pandemic. We are years deep into this y’all, and I gotta thank them, Will and Omar, and all of BNP for embracing me and letting me be the Black nerd that I am. –Kenny

Join us in celebrating online via Facebook, X (Twitter–we still calling it Twitter, fam) and Instagram.

Be sure to see more of us via Youtube, up on our Twitch channel and in our Discord server!

Perfect plug to remind everyone of our newsletter where you can receive the latest from our site in your inbox.

This is a perfect time to remind that Official BNP merch exist, pick up a hoodie, t-shirts, and other apparel for kids and the whole family and more here!

Lastly, y’all know that Black Nerd Problems: Essays is available where most books are sold via trade paperback, hardcover, eBook, and audio book as well)

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