6 conventions black geeks should check out
By Ian Freeman
February 11, 2022
While being a blerd or black geek is in fashion, the geek market isn’t always the most welcoming. Cosplayers and content creators are still often the target of various microaggressions and sometimes outright harassment due to them just trying to express their fandom. Comic book conventions, originally fortresses that geeks could feel safe and embraced didn’t always take geeks of color in with open arms. And even as black geekdom pushed cultural acceptance and ultimately the marketability of being a geek, many conventions have been slow to change. Some only embrace black geeks to pad their bottom line, others taking superficial measures like adding in a few panels but rarely spotlighting talented members of the geek community. So as often has been the case, we created it for ourselves. A safe space where black geekiness is shared, embraced, and celebrated unapologetically. Here are some we think you should check out.
Crystal City, has been the DJ Khaled of the convention scene and in 2017, Hilton George would give them another one with the launch of Blerdcon. BlerDCon celebrates all the facets of being a blerd and creates a forum where sharing that culture can take place with proper context, attribution and positivity in an inclusive environment. In its relatively short existence, Blerdcon has become one of the most influential and anticipated gatherings in blerd culture. Previous guests include Rachel True, Cutiepiesensei, Estelle, The Yellow Ranger Karen Ashley, and more.
Blerdcon is slated for July 8-10, 2022 for info www.blerdcon.com
Brought to you by the creative collective RDC World, the minds behind some of your favorite skits, Dream Con is an anime and gaming convention that aims to bring together like-minded individuals to enjoy and celebrate multiple interests including pop culture, comics, art, cosplay, music and much more Taking place in Arlington, Texas, Dream Con has brought some of the geek industry’s most well-known and talented people of color under one rough. Previous guests include Toastymarshmellow, King Vader, Gabe Kunda and more.
Dreamcon is slated for July 15 – 17, 2022 for info www.dreamconvention.com
Award-winning science fiction author Cerece Rennie Murphy, an attendee and fan of comic conventions wanted to help colleagues, friends and other fans adversely affected by the impact of Covid-19. Her solution, Virtuous Con, a virtual event series that showcases the work of science fiction, fantasy, and comics creators to grow an audience for their work. Virtuous Con has gained a steady growth of supporters not only from their events but by using technology to create a unique experience in ways cons sometimes lack, including virtual “booths” for vendors to interact live with attendees and live panel rooms to interact in real-time discussions.
Previous guests include Phil Lamaar, Marc Bernardin, Wilson Cruz, Justina Ireland and more.
Virtuous Con is slated for February 12 – 13, 2022 for info www.virtuouscon.com
Goasi Con (Geek Out at Staten Island) was started by Najah Abdul-Qawiyy whose finances and distance made her desire to attend comic conventions often a bridge too far to cross. So she endeavored to create a con that Staten Islanders could access easily and would invite others to come there. While this is what planted the seed, what took root was the purpose to create a unique outlook and dialogue on geek culture from diverse perspectives and to bridge the gap between art and culture experiences, and underrepresented and under-served Staten Islanders. Especially for those with special needs, people of color and youth. And from this blossomed Goasi Con.
Goasi Con is slated for August, 13, 2022 for info www.goasicon.com
Game Devs of Color
Game Devs of COlor isn’t exactly a con as it is an expo but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attend. Originally founded by Catt Small and Chris Algoo in 2016, the Game Devs of Color Expo aimed to showcase games made by game creators of color. Since then the event has grown, getting on the radar of gaming industry heavyweights and even offering grants to developers. Recently, the event went virtual, inviting developers and fans from all over the world to attend.
Game Devs of Color is slated for September 15-18, 2022 for info www.gamedevsofcolorexpo.com
What happens when A Different World meets New York Comic Con? HBCU Con. Melding two worlds stepped in their own traditions and that spawned some of our greatest minds, HBCU Con is celebrating and bridging the gap between Historically-Black Colleges/Universities and Black geeks-at-large. Last year’s event was virtual and this will be their first physical event. So if you’ve never been to an HBCU homecoming and/or a comic convention, this is your ticket inside the #BlackGeekHomecoming experience.
HBCU Con is slated for April 29 – May 1, 2022 for info www.hbcucon.org
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