William Evans and Omar Holmon met on the 2008 Nationwide Poetry Slam whereas there representing completely different cities. Quick ahead to 2021, they’re publishing a e book collectively. Their joint essay assortment “Black Nerd Issues” is simply out in shops.
“We received to be actually good mates and realized that we each had an affinity for nerd and popular culture stuff,” says Evans, who lives in Ohio, whereas Holmon is in New York, throughout a current name.
In 2013, Evans pitched his pal an thought: What in the event that they launched a web site sharing their views on popular culture?
“I used to be anticipating to debate it over the subsequent few weeks. The very subsequent day he was like, ‘We want folks to do that. Who ought to we get to do that?’” says Holmon. Whereas the duo might have centered on their very own takes on popular culture, they instantly needed to usher in different views, turning to their social networks and tapping on-line mates to take part within the web site BlackNerdProblems.com, which launched in 2014.
“It was just like the Avengers coming collectively,” says Holmon.
Evans factors out that Black Nerd Issues developed at a time when there have been communities and web sites emphasizing the views of marginalized voices within the popular culture journalism realm. “I believe that what drove us to be completely different was that we had been simply our genuine voice,” he provides.
That ended up working to the location’s benefit. Seeing how the enter of their mates was increasing their pursuits and the variety of voices, they realized this might additionally “have the identical impact for individuals who had been coming to the location,” says Evans.
Evans and Holmon cowl a large breadth of the popular culture panorama — the whole lot from comedian books to anime to TV collection and videogames are referenced — whereas additionally digging into the racial historical past of the USA and tackling problems with illustration in media.
So how did it turn out to be a e book?
“I had been engaged on a e book, a poetry assortment, a few years in the past and was lucky sufficient for it to get picked up by a big press,” says Evans. In the middle of that undertaking, the topic of turning Black Nerd Issues right into a e book arose. “It was pitched to us as, ‘Would you ever take into account this being a set?’” he recollects.
It was an attention-grabbing, albeit surprising, proposition. “We received into this as a result of we wish to nerd out on-line and share that with folks and have enjoyable with it and wave our nerd flag,” says Evans. “I don’t suppose that we ever pictured that we’d be publishing this work, nevertheless it was intriguing.”
Evans and Holmon write with enthusiasm and humor that matches the joy of their voices on our telephone name. Their essays, with titles like “I Hate It Right here: Meals Wars Would Be the Most Annoying Anime to Dwell In” and “It’s Time We Cease Pretending That Simba Wasn’t Rubbish in ‘The Lion King’” tackle a tone extra reflective of conversations with mates.
“The way in which we write is the best way we discuss and we needed to guarantee that folks felt represented in that method, that we didn’t code swap, that we didn’t modify our voice as a result of our phrases had been going to be in print or as a result of we had been hoping to get a wider viewers,” says Evans. “It was nonetheless going to sound like us.”
Whereas the e book is a brand new benchmark, Holmon notes that it was there was a second he realized that they had successful on their arms with the web site. “When the feedback are trash, we made it,” he says.
“Omar nonetheless reads the feedback,” says Evans. “I don’t. I can’t.”