DC Comics is dragged for misrepresenting 'Blerd' culture: 'Words mean things'

Ethan Alter
·Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·5 min read
Attendees at BlerdCon
Attendees at BlerdCon, a cosplay convention that promotes inclusivity for minorities. (Kate Warren for the Washington Post via Getty Images).

Holy ratio, Batman! DC Comics ignited a Twitter firestorm — not to be confused with Firestorm — when the publisher took to social media with a special announcement about its upcoming DC FanDome event. Scheduled for August 22, DC FanDome is billed as a 24-hour virtual convention for all things DC, from comics to TV shows to movies, like the upcoming Snyder Cut of Justice League. (Here’s hoping we also get a longer version of the Reynolds Cut of Green Lantern.)

On Twitter, DC announced that the FanDome would also feature another edition of Blerd & Boujee — an event they debuted at last year’s in-person Comic-Con in San Diego that celebrated Black comic book culture. But the announcement was greeted with a resounding lack of enthusiasm when fans followed a link featured in DC’s post that recapped the 2019 Blerd & Boujee boat party.

That post has since been deleted from DC’s official site, but screen grabs reveal what started the ruckus. In the article, the word “Blerd” was defined as referring to “diverse fans of color from Black, Latinx and Asian communities who are into gaming, tech, anime, comics, movies and TV.” As many on Twitter were quick to note, though, the term was initially coined by Black nerds for Black nerds. Specifically, it was referenced by Scrubs star and real-life Blerd Donald Faison on a 2006 episode of the long-running sitcom that’s often credited with popularizing the term. In recent years, events like the Washington, D.C.-based BlerdCon have placed an emphasis on celebrating Black nerds, while also being inclusive of people of color and minority groups.

The poster art from the 2019 party — drawn by Black illustrator Kyle Baker — was also heavily criticized, including by someone who was involved in the event.

On Twitter, journalist Karama Horne, who covers Blerd culture as the Blerdgurl, indicated that she consulted with the 2019 Blerd & Boujee organizers, but didn’t have a say in the poster art or the way DC defined the word.

In the wake of the social media outcry, DC Comics issued a retraction for misrepresenting the word “Blerd” while also announcing that the virtual experience would proceed as scheduled. But the mystery of why Cyborg appears to be doing the Carlton remains unexplained...

DC FanDome launches on August 22

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