If I had my druthers about me, the idea to create Black Nerd Problems would have begun at least two months earlier at least, allowing for a process that led us launching on March 15th instead of May. That way I could say that every anniversary for the site landed on the “Ides of March,” where in my elaborate planning would draw half smiles and smirks from myself and a few college professors. That is probably the largest on a list of very few regrets I have connected to Black Nerd Problems over the last year.
In fact, maybe it’s the only regret, as anything else I have learned over the last year has been a resolvable issue where the only thing lost, was time. At this point, I can live with that. Now having no real regrets about the site doesn’t mean we have been perfect. I know that we haven’t been perfect and I most certainly haven’t been either. There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t say to Omar: gotdamn, we missed a great opportunity there. Sometimes it’s just resources. Everybody on staff is a full-time student or employee somewhere, so as an editor I always want us to produce more content. As an objective fan of the site, I’m sometimes amazed at the amount of content we produce. I look at us like a video game developer that has all kinds of ambitious plans and ideas that are so far ahead of the consoles they develop for. The truly great developers milk as much out of the resources they have, but are far enough ahead of the curve where they already know what they will do when the technology catches up to them. As a site, we haven’t had out next gen leap yet. And that’s fine. For a solo funded, 100% volunteer contributor force, us not being able to do every single idea that comes to me at 12:15 am while I’m trying to finish a 2,200 word recap, isn’t really something to complain about.
This job is WORK and I knew it would be. But I suppose it’s the difference between watching a first person video of someone skydiving and actually jumping your ass out of the plane yourself. One phrase I’m sure my team is tired of hearing me say is, “sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know.” The learning curve has been steep, none of us had done something like this before and we really did jump into one of the most ruthless mediums (internet and nerd culture) having no experienced idea of what we were doing. Just instinct. I’d give you some idea of all the racist, sexist and all out bigoted mess that we experience from “dudes on the internet” on a weekly basis, but here’s the thing…we draw a lot more love. So I would be disingenuous to harp on the negative aspect of it.
Which leads me to the point: how thankful I am. I have THE BEST gig. Well, the best gig that doesn’t come with health insurance. I’m a cynical cat, I push sentimentality into the backseat most of the time and have named science and efficiency the source that powers my ring on most days. But I was not ready for how transformative this could be. The readership and following of people that are invested in what we do, follow our updates and commentary, share our content, swear by it and expect us to repeat the process all over again. Because I am as I am, I told Omar that when we started Black Nerd Problems, we would give people a place to find nerd, geek and pop culture related material from a diverse perspective. I had no idea that people would make it a home. A home where folks that had been disenfranchised or deterred from standard bearing sites who just didn’t care very much to tell THEIR story. We are not the only diverse nerd site out there, not by a long shot and we are not even the newest. But we are a unique entity with a unique voice, and if this was just a 1 year affair with the internet where we made people laugh, nod their head and most to our delight, make their friends say, “Yo, you gotta check out this shit on BNP,” then I could walk away happy…
…but this is not a one year affair and we are so much better of a site than we were six months ago. Or a year ago. I’m so thankful to our staff, who do this for nothing but for the love of doing it. On May 15th, 2014, our original crew at launch was Taj Williams, Lauren Bullock, Oz Longworth, Jr., Da’John Henderson, Chace Morris and Whitney Syphax Walker and they carried us through our first stumbling and awkward steps into this. Thank you to those who jumped on the moving train: Anissa Hanley, Izetta Thomas, Mitra Nelson, Ian Khadan, Maya Phillips, Monica Hunasikatti, Jordan Calhoun, Leslie Light, Keith Reid-Cleveland and William Young. A huge thanks to our guest contributors: Thuli Zuma, Danez Smith and Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib. A heartfelt thanks to my homie, Carrie “Clips” McClain that keeps me on the level and has talked me off the ledge half a dozen times. And of course the dude for which none of this would have happened without, my partner in Green Lantern Sector 2814, Omar Holmon. It has been a pleasure over this first year but we hope to surpass that going into the next one.