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Blerd City Con offers a safe space for ‘black and nerdy’ community to ‘space out’

“We want the community to see overwhelming positive imagery from art to tech that we are into,” the con’s founder said.

Blerd City Convention is bringing the

Blerd City Convention is bringing the "black and nerdy" community together for the second year in a row. Photo Credit: African Voices Magazine

Who run the world? Nerds.

“We are everywhere,” said Clairesa Clay, the founder of Blerd City Convention, a con for the “black and nerdy” community taking place this weekend.

In its second year, Blerd City Con is offering a safe space for people to “celebrate the fantastic nerd” within the black community.

The con is like any other with panels, workshops, film screenings and special guests, except that it showcases the complexity of black nerdiness through gaming, comic books, science and technology and provides a space just for those in the African diaspora who identify as a “nerd” in their fandoms and interests.

The two-day event offers panels and workshops such as “Wakanda and the Wealth of the African Diaspora,” “Women in Comics,” “Black Males in Mainstream Media: Politics, Protest and Sexual Misconduct,” “Zombie Doomsday: A Fictional Reading,” “World of Martial Arts: Does It Work in Brooklyn?” and “Afrofuturistic Playwrights.” There’s also a K-Pop sing-a-long, a code, write and sip workshop and a session on technology and business.

Among those scheduled to appear are Clayton Banks, the co-founder and CEO of Silicon Harlem; Keith Perrin, the CEO of FUBU Radio; sci-fi and fantasy playwright and novelist Andrea Hairston; Sheree Renee Thomas, the author of “Dark Matter: A Century of Speculative Fiction from the African Diaspora;” Tim Fielder, an animator known for “Afrofuturism: The Next Generation;” and Regine Sawyer, the owner and writer at Locket Down Production, a press comic book company, and founder of the Women in Comics Collective International.

The con will kick off on Friday at the Samui Restaurant in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn with a “Blerdy cocktail hour.”

Clay created Blerd City Con when she realized there needed to be a space to celebrate the “abundance of intelligence in the African diaspora community, which is not consistently shown in the mainstream,” she said.

“We want the community to see overwhelming positive imagery from art to tech that we are into,” she said. “A safe space is needed to help validate that nerdiness (high intelligence in this case) is important and needed in a time when so much discrimination is being documented daily. A place to space out on ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Black Panther,’ technology, martial arts, indie comic books with celebratory imagery is needed in our country.”

The convention runs from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, with cocktail hours bookending the event from 7 to 11 p.m. at Samui Restaurant and 333 Lounge, respectively.

Tickets are $20 for a one-day pass and $35 for both days. For more information, visit blerdcityconference.com.

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