Valerie’s Complexium: Navigating Through Nerd Spaces

Originally posted at Black Girl Nerds

Welcome to my column. I thank Jamie Broadnax and the BGN family for giving me a platform to talk about the adventures I experience being a journalist. Let me remind everyone that just because I have been given this platform, my thoughts are my own. And don’t necessarily reflect the thoughts of those at BGN.

Who am I?

I am Valerie Complex. I have been writing for three years but turned into professional within the last year. I am a young, black, queer, military veteran, with the ultimate goal of becoming an acclaimed screenwriter. I hail from New York, so I like to cuss and keep it 100. In fact, I’m sitting in a pair of Timberland boots right now. Did I mention I’m from the boogie-down Bronx?

What makes me qualified?

I would I work at the intermediate level. I have written for some pretty big online publications such as Nerdist, Geek and Sundry, Inquisitr, The Mary Sue, The Nerds of Color, BGN, and of course my own website, Anime Complexium. I have written about everything from astronomy to urban legends, anime, and film reviews. Thanks to those opportunities I am now a new member of the women’s film critics circle. You can also check my in-progress portfolio here.

What should you expect from me?

A scathing commentary on race, gender, class, colorism and their relationship to all things media. In addition to some non-related stuff for fun. This will include first-hand accounts of what I have seen and heard in the business, in addition to sharing the experiences of others. I aim to hold nothing back. Although, in the interest of tact and maintaining relationships I, sometimes may have to bite the bullet.

With that said I want to discuss an on-going issue in the writing world, and that is staffing.

Notice a pattern?

You would think organizations would hire a diverse set of writers to cover more ground, but that isn’t the reality. The appearance of acceptance and diversity is a facade just to stay out of the crosshairs of social media’s wrath (and they don’t want none of Black twitter) Don’t believe me? Go to an online publication, look at the pictures of staff if available, and tell me what you see.

I thought this horrifying trend was only present in nerd journalism, but the problem is beyond anything I could have imagined. I won’t call out any organizations by name but some of the larger conglomerates have a SERIOUS issue with their staff being white across the board.

Let me break down some of the misunderstandings about what diversity is NOT:

  • Having one black male on your staff.
  • A few Asian writers sprinkled in a sea of white folks.
  • 99% of your writers are male.
  • You have no writers of color, but then write about how you really want Donald Glover to be cast as Miles Morales someday.
  • Talking at length about LGBTQ issues with no LGBTQ people working in the office or through telecommute

People, that’s not how this works!

If you are reading this now and you know your staff, your newsroom, your contributors, or your writer’s room, isn’t reflective of the world we live in and completely dismisses marginalized communities, YOU SHOULD BE EMBARRASSED! Acknowledge you have a problem and fix that shit ASAP! And don’t try to perpetrate a fraud because I will lurk all on your page, and check your staff roster. You have no idea of all the talent, passion, and ideas you are missing out on by not giving PoC a chance.

Now, for my people in the game. If you aren’t interested in being a part of all that, DON’T. Breakout and start your own website, podcast, production company, whatever. Sites like Black Girl Nerds and The Nerds of Color thrive because there was a gap and they filled it. You can do the same.

Here are some sites besides BGN and NOC where you can expect a diverse array of writers and topics:

Sorry if I didn’t mention all the sites, these are the ones I can remember off the top of my head. Remember to support sites that support diversity, and speak up against the ones that don’t!

Check me out out on the Filmlosphers podcast talking about how women make an impact in front and behind the camera and be sure to follow me on twitter!

One thought on “Valerie’s Complexium: Navigating Through Nerd Spaces

  1. Thank you, Valerie Complex for your introduction and article and the list of other sites, too! Filmlosphers sounds interesting! I am so glad that people have more choices now thanks to the Internet and social media and technology, in general. Not everyone wants to accept the status quo shoved down our throats and frankly, I do not care for HuffPo. Never have….never will.
    Best wishes with your screenplay endeavors. Have you considered going for the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting?

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