Art

milan’s first day: a black nerd queen call to arms

November 19, 2013

My name is Laura and I am a mother, musician, educator, and filmmaker. I’ve written and directed a short film titled ‘Milan’s First Day’. It is a story about a young girl first day in her new school. The making of this film was a necessary act. This film is for all the nerd and geek girls who are searching for images of that reflect them.
Back in the day I was a hard-core Black Rocker. I was in the pit moshing to 24-7 Spys, Screaming Headless Torso, Bad Brains and Fishbone. Now, I am a proud mother of three nerd daughters. My oldest daughter makes her yearly pilgrammage to Afropunk Festival. My middle daughter tries to school me on rock music only to me spin Skunk Anansie, Anthrax, and System of A Down for her. My youngest is Miss Geek Supreme who can’t get enough of J-pop, K-pop, manga and anime. We are all Black Nerd Girls and there’s no shame in our game.

By Laura Fielder *

It infuriates me to not see that the likes of me, my daughters and other Black Nerd Queens represented in the media. With the exception of Issa Rae, Dee Rees and the High Priestess of Nerdom, Ava Duvernay finding images that reflect our lives is like finding a needle in a haystack. What’s typically shown is the yelling, fake hair, fake nails, yelling Drama Mama on reality TV, the not too attractive sassy side-kick on television series and po’ ghetto girl in the movie theaters. All I can say is. I. Just. Can’t.

This Mommy Nerd/Indie Filmmaker has taken matters into her own hands. I’m making a bold declaration by shooting a quiet film about a young awkward girl. When I first sought out producers for my film, they wanted to change my script to make the story more “urban.” They didn’t like the way my characters talk so people could ”relate to them”. The wanted my film to tackle social issues such as crime, poverty, and teen pregnancy. In short, producers wanted to come on board if they could tweak the story to fit the stereotypes. I decided the story was going to represent the women and girls I know, no matter what it takes.

Eventually I was able to find two producers who understood my vision. We were fortunate to land the young actress Milan Howard, who is best known as Chris Rock’s daughter Kelly Cooper in the film I Think I Love My Wife. Despite the many hurdles, we were able to raise just enough the money to shoot the film. We found a great film crew who knows that Black girls can be nerds. Most importantly, it was great to work with young and diverse group actors and actresses who defy stereotypes.

Now we are ready to complete the film. We’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign: www.kickstarter.com/projects/1233568896/milans-first-day, to raise the funds for the film assemblage. The film will be submitted to festivals and screened in schools.


This is my call to arms: all geeks, nerds, Afropunkers, Black Rockers, free thinkers stand up. Create and support stories that represent all kinds of Black Nerd Girls like Milan’s First Day and web series The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl. This time the revolution shall be televised –as it should be.

* Laura Fielder (Writer/Director/Producer) is an educator, storyteller and musician. She has worked in a producing capacity on several short film projects, including Little White Lies, End of Season and The Flower Shop. She has also written or co-written several short film scripts, among these, Payback, made as part of the 2012 Asian American Film Lab (AAFilmLab) 72 Hour Film Shootout. She recently completed her first full-length feature script, The Scorpion Twins, written specifically for the Latin American film market. Milan’s First Day is her directorial debut. Laura Fielder is also a mother of three.

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