“Blerd” is a term used to signify the metamorphosis of “Black Nerds,” referring to those interested in a virtual universe layered with the complexities of the real world. The New York Times defined the term as “critics and creators, scholars and social influencers, artists and activists who are shifting the culture in the years following the election of Barack Obama.” They referred to Obama as America’s first Black and Blerd president.
8bitclosedfist founder, Ronell Crawford, wanted to create a space where the Blerd community could feel at home.
The Painted Lady Tattoo Shop hosted “Ink x Anime,” inviting the collective community to enjoy games, flash tattoos, anime trivia, and stand-up comedy.
“We just wanted to put on this event to get together with a lot of our Black nerds, anime nerds, gamers– to meet up. I know a lot of us feel like this doesn’t exist,” Crawford explained.
He went on to break down the need for a “dope” environment for the Black nerd community to feel accepted. The founder of 8bitclosedfist continued, “We also just want some dope gatherings for the community.”
8bitclosedfist host, Larney L. Johnson IV (L.J.), commented on the prospects of building an environment for Black youth to be introduced to a wide range of pop culture.
“We don’t want to have to go to Cons [themed conventions for pop culture] all the time; where you have to pay for tickets—parking fees, just to meet up with people and cool conversations,” confirmed L.J., who added that they are looking to do a lot more events that cater to the collective community.
“This is important because I think a lot of us just need to let loose and enjoy whatever we enjoy.” Crawford said. Subsequently, L.J. considered the effects of socializing after COVID-19 swept the globe.
“Since COVID happened, a lot of people found anime, streaming, and stuff like that — so we took that and been able to gather. That’s the most important thing. It’s about community. We want to make sure we keep it together — it’s all about Black love.”
The night was filled with the buzz of young Black adults enjoying Jenga, Uno, and free tacos. The center area was transformed to a comedy stage.
Up and coming talent that performed included O’mar Finley, Mikel Albagdadi, Keenan Baker, Herman Wrice, Brandon Broady, and Roxxy Haze. Tacos were provided by The Last Meal Prep and music was curated by DJ and producer, Mathew.
In the words of the New York Times, “the Blerd moment seems to have only just begun.”