Japan has long produced visual media that has captivated readers and viewers for decades. Manga and anime are two classic mediums through which fantastical worlds and profound characters come to life. Of all the hundreds of thousands of characters that exist in these worlds, there are a handful that share a close resemblance to African Americans. Though these characters are not always explicitly identified as black, they are heavily coded as black or Afro-descended. The aesthetic of black coded characters in anime and manga reflect the same ideologies of black males in U.S media and society. Popular series like Naruto and Samurai Champloo both use tropes of black males and demonstrate common ideas about their masculinity and how they are read by others. Hip hop is the vehicle through which Japan understands American blackness which manifests itself in various ways in Japanese media.
In this case, “all time” refers to two years. You see, today marks the second anniversary of the official launch of the site. Since that time, we’ve amassed dozens of contributors, hundreds of articles, thousands of readers, and hundreds of thousands of views. It’s humbling, and as the site’s lead editor, I want to thank each and everyone who has made the Nerds of Color what it is today, two years later.
So before we move forward into Year Three, I wanted to look back at the last two, and share ten of the most read posts in the history of the blog. Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to follow us on twitter and Facebook where we’ll be sharing links to these classic posts all week. Anyway, on to the countdown!
Originally posted at BadAzz MoFo
No doubt, there will be people debating over the meaning and motivation behind Sanford Greene’s cover to Shaft #2, which came out this week. For the record, the idea for the cover came to me long before the grand jury hearing in the case of Mike Brown, and is not in response to that particular case. If there is one recent ripped-from-the-news incident that really inspired the cover, it was the 2014 killing of Darrien Hunt, the young cosplayer from Utah. Every death that I read about whether it is Mike Brown, or Eric Garner, or Trayvon Martin, or any of the other tragedies that have been playing out with far too much frequency, destroys me a little bit. But there was something about the death of Darrien Hunt that really got to me. You see, if I’m going to be honest, on the path of my life and my career, there was a reasonably good chance I could have met Darrien some day.
Last week, we brought you Black Girl Nerds’ account of the shooting of Darrien Hunt, the 22-year old Utah man who was killed by police for “brandishing a sword” that happened to not be a real sword at all. Depressingly, Hunt’s murder is part of an all too common pattern of high-profile killings of unarmed black men by those who have been sworn to protect and serve them.
The death of Darrien Hunt did not happen in a vaccum. In the wake of similar instances in Staten Island with Eric Garner, or Ferguson with Michael Brown, and Ohio with John Crawford1 — and these cases are just from this summer — the mainstream media and society in general is paying attention more than they ever have in the past.
This morning I read the link to a news article tweeted to me about Darrien Hunt, a 22-year old Black male who was gunned down by police on Wednesday September 10 by the Saratoga Springs police department. Several news outlets initially picked up the story as reported by the police and Tim Taylor, the chief deputy attorney for Utah county. His statement to the press was as follows:
When the officers made contact with Mr. Hunt, he brandished the sword and lunged toward the officers with the sword, at which time Mr. Hunt was shot.