Critical Geekery: Talking Representation in Pop Culture with the Nerds of Color

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Now three years old, pop-culture criticism blog The Nerds of Color is going strong, with a range of contributors writing thought-provoking posts, speaking at major events like San Diego Comic Con, and turning the blog into a successful locus for Twitter activism aimed at increasing representation in pop culture.

Founder and editor-in-chief Keith Chow and writers Valerie ComplexShawn Taylor, and Alice Wong talked to us about their favorite shows, shifts in the media landscape, and how we can all support inclusive entertainment.


When was the first time you saw yourself in popular culture (if at all)?

Keith: One of my favorite comics growing up was G.I. Joe. As much as I loved the cartoon and toys, I loved the comics more. My favorite characters were Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, rival ninjas who were former friends. I didn’t know it at the time, but I subconsciously gravitated to those…

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The NOC Live at Pandora Radio

Last week, a contingency of Nerds of Color were invited to speak at Pandora Radio as part of the company’s Mixtape Rap Sessions. Representing the NOC were Julie Kang, Shawn Taylor, and Valerie Complex, as well as Salim French, host of the podcast Blacker Than Black TImes Infinity. This was a reunion of sorts of the NOC panel that was a highlight of last month’s inaugural Silicon Valley Comic Con.

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NOCs of the Roundtable: Hot Star Wars Takes Awaken

You might not have known, but a little movie opens this weekend. It’s called Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Heard of it? Well, it’s already shattering box office records worldwide, and it’ll probably be the highest grossing movie of the year. And there’s only two more weeks left in the year.

Anyway, a bunch of the NOCs have already seen the movie and want to share their thoughts. We’ll be updating this Roundtable throughout the weekend as more of us head out to the multiplex. In the meantime, know that anything and everything after the jump are massive Star Wars spoilers. Be warned.

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NOCs of the Roundtable: Super Mario Memories

This week, a classic Nintendo video game celebrated a landmark anniversary. In September 1985, the first iteration of Super Mario Bros. was released for the Famicom system in Japan. Three decades later, the Italian plumber with the 40″ vertical and suspect accent has become a cultural phenomenon the world over.

To mark Nintendo’s crowning achievement in making all of us feel super old, the Nerds convened around the old Roundtable to share some of their Super Mario memories.

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In Conversation with Daniel José Older

First off, I want to apologize for the video quality. We did this at the time of  day that is heavy with Internet traffic, and we experienced some delays. I also didn’t label the speakers, but you know who he is.

This was some of the most fun I have ever had interviewing someone.

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NOCs of the Roundtable: Olivia Munn is Psylocke

On Monday, director Bryan Singer revealed on Instagram that he had cast Newsroom star Olivia Munn as Psylocke in the upcoming reboot/sequel X-Men: Apocalypse. And if you’re wondering, Pyslocke was previously portrayed by Mei Melançon in X-Men: The Last Stand, but everyone knows that movie doesn’t count (and after the events of the last X-Men movie, none of the other ones do either).

Due in theaters next year, Apocalypse continues the period-set aesthetic of the new X-Men franchise. While First Class was set in the 1960s and Days of Future Past in the 1970s, Apocalypse will take place during the 1980s, which is fitting since that’s the time period that saw Betsy Braddock go from a supporting role in Captain Britain to a full-fledged member of the X-Men. She’s also one of the first characters to undergo a convoluted, but canonical, race swap in the pages of the comic.

Anyway, some of the Nerds convened around the old Roundtable to talk about Olivia’s casting in the next X-Men film.

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Get Ready for MECCAcon 2015 This September

Comic conventions are like traditional meals. They are either wonderful and make you feel like you’re at home, or they are so terrible they induce nightmares and have you screaming, “You had the ingredients and the recipe. How did you screw up so badly?” From what I’ve been told, MECCAcon is home for a whole lot of people.

This September, Maia Crown Williams — the founder of #MECCAcon2015 and all around comic-culture badass — is making Detroit, Michigan the center of the universe for comic-culture for and by folks of color. While there has been some geeklash about how events like this, BCAF, OnyxCon and others are “exclusive” events; the overwhelming majority of people see the necessity of these events.

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