6 Essential Books on Black History and Culture for Blerds
In the life of a Blerd, history is everything. It’s what has shaped our very existence and it’s what we use to push ourselves forward to make sure that in no way, shape or form will history repeat itself. We’ve created our own music, art and safe spaces. We’ve made cons and presented comic books. We’ve created anime and we’ve cosplayed all over the world, bringing in our extensive creativity along the way.
First thing about being a Blerd is being black. In the world today we already know we’ve mistreated, enslaved, misguided, lied to, degraded and told that we aren’t anything but something that can be destroyed and replaced. And out of the ashes of hatred and bigotry has the Phoenix known as US, risen and taken flight. In all the best ways possible we are the blueprint.
Looking to our futures does, however, require us to look at our past. But not through the eyes that tried to wash our past away or make it seem like we were being dramatic about what has happened to us for hundreds of years, but through the eyes of those who share our skin. So I found some amazing and essential books on black history and culture for Blerds that can help expose the past for what it was and continue to shape our future for what it can truly be.
Now, without really thinking we can guess what this first book is really about. We’ve all seen those horror movies where the one black guy in the entire cast is the first one to get got. And to be honest, that has turned some people away from horror movies, especially people of color, mainly because we already know how we would act in these situations and the depiction of it is never correct.
This book by Robin R. Means Coleman and Mark H. Harris takes a look at cinema, more specifically horror to discuss the tropes and themes that surround black actors when it comes to horror cinema and beyond. It also gives some praise to and exploration to projects such as Get Out from Jordan Peele and Lovecraft Country. This is definitely one of the essential books on black history and culture for blerds because a lot of us blerds are horror fans. Whether it’s in video games, movies, books, live action shows or anime, we enjoy this genre and we are always grateful for those like Jordan Peele that can give us a space without us wondering or knowing if the character that represents us is going to be eliminated first unnecessarily.
Next up on this list would be something for the younger Blerds or those who don’t particularly care for the mundane way history is told or explained. The Black History Book, written by DK, goes over the historical events and breaks them down in a simple format making it easy to understand and follow along. And it ends up bringing a fresh take on the themes and tricky topics.
The book is vibrant and includes some wonderful graphics and easy to understand diagrams so that you’re happily getting lost in the lesson and the knowledge versus being completely bored of it and not remembering or knowing anything once you’re finished. It not only covers the most important milestones in black history but it does so in such an interesting way that if you are a visual learner, like myself, you’ll be able to grasp the information with no issue and retain it.
This book is essential for Blerds as it includes the milestones that contributed to giving us the opportunities to create our own safe spaces. You can follow the trail all through history to see what parts of our culture contributed directly to the blerd culture that followed. This is definitely a must read.
The history of black cinema has never really been talked about in a way that makes us feel good about black cinema and I think that is where Hollywood Black comes in. Brought to us by award winning author Donald Bogle, Hollywood Black takes a look at black cinema starting with the silent era and bringing the story forward into the era where we have Ryan Coogler giving us Black Panther with a majority black cast.
There are some blerds who love cinema just in general, some blerds who want to get into the world of cinema whether it be acting or behind the scenes and some blerds who have hidden amongst the stars and are now finding the confidence in themselves and the blerd community to reveal themselves. A few examples being Michael B Jordan and Megan Thee Stallion with their love for anime and Donald Glover who is multidimensional in his love for all things blerd related.
Hollywood Black explores different stories from stars and filmmakers who have lived and breathed Hollywood for an extended period of time and how moving from when it was only white men doing blackface to actual prominent and talented black actors paving the way for blerds to enter into Hollywood and be unapologetically themselves. It definitely is one of the essential books on black history and culture for blerds, an absolute must read.
This book is definitely for the culture. In my time as part of the blerd community I have come across many blerds who love to dip into the area of our ancestors’ magic and make sure that not only are they protected but that their family and friends are too. Author, Stephanie Rose Bird, brings to life the magic of our African ancestors that had been passed down through several generations.
The application of this can be seen in the new Castlevania: Nocturne where Annette uses the magic and powers of an African Earth god to help accomplish her goals. It was very interesting to see this play out in the show and also in comic books in the form of Storm and the mutant Oya. If you were a fan of American Horror Story we also saw African magic play out in the 3rd season AHS:Coven.
While this is a different kind of book from the others as it presents the rituals, ancient techniques and methods, it still brings forward how our culture is influenced and has influenced our blerd spaces and brings a certain spice to the blerd community that it may have been missing.
This next story I think fits the narrative of those who love cosplay or like to delve into a world that isn’t this one. Whether it’s gaming, anime, movies etc, this book asks the question, “What story are you?” And the author Rayan Mansour made sure to include the short stories that can express anyone at any time.
This book brings in different short stories so that we can escape the world around us and be who we’ve wanted to be, where we’ve wanted to be and live how we’ve wanted to live. And it’s essentially the blerd world just in book form. Every time we decide to cosplay as a favorite character, pick up a manga or a comic or attend a convention with people who are just like us. We have those fun conversations, those hard conversations, those inspiring conversations and this book is definitely one of the essential books on black history and culture for blerds because it is essentially just telling the life of blerds through the eyes of others that are just like us. An absolute must read.
Last but certainly not least, I wanted to bring this book to the forefront. With the rise of blerds in the sci-fi and fantasy world, looking back on how we got here in this book brought to us by Ytasha L Womack is a great way to take that journey. We’ve seen our blerd actors take on roles in the Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones, Altered Carbon, Men in Black and more recently, They Cloned Tyrone.
This book takes a look at the journey black artists and actors have taken to bring us to the point where we are prominent and present in the Sci-fi and Fantasy conversations and part of the world that would otherwise be a bit dull without us. The story travels from the innovators of the past to the likes of Will.i.am and even African Deities. The combined elements are designed to not only enlighten but also entertain and this book does exactly that. If you are one for the fantasy or sci-fi worlds this is definitely a must read.
While there are more and more books that come out all the time that can contribute to this topic, these six are the ones that stuck out to me the most. They were vibrant and entertaining as well as easy to understand and follow. They have several lessons within them and they can bring your understanding of blerd, blerd culture and blerd spaces up to speed if you haven’t quite gotten it just yet. At this point, it’s just a lifestyle.
Dr. K the Anime Bae
Celebrating Black Creativity: From Books on Black History to Blerd Streetwear and Accessories
While our aspirations to feature Books on Black History in The Blerd Shop are on the horizon, we take immense pride in our current offerings that celebrate Blerd culture through fashion. Our exclusive range of streetwear and accessories embodies the essence of the Blerd community, crafted to honor our identity with every piece. Embrace your unique style and explore our collection today. Shop the latest in Blerd streetwear and accessories.
In parallel, Blerd.com champions the voices of Black writers with robust Marketing and Advertising Services. Our platform is a beacon for those who wish to amplify their narratives, whether through novels, comics, or other creative endeavors. We’re dedicated to ensuring these vital voices find their audience and resonate within our community. Learn about our support for Black writers at Blerd.com by making in inquiry today!
Weaving Together Style and Stories in the Blerd Community
The journey of celebrating Black creativity is multifaceted at The Blerd Shop and Blerd.com. From the threads of our streetwear to the tales waiting to be told, every aspect of what we offer is a testament to the rich tapestry of Black culture and ingenuity.
As we look forward to expanding our catalog to include Books on Black History, we invite you to join us in this vibrant celebration of identity, creativity, and community. Whether you’re showcasing your Blerd pride through our fashion or sharing your story with the world, your voice adds invaluable depth to our collective narrative. Stay engaged and help shape the future of our community.