Blerdcon

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Convention
Name: Blerdcon
Dates: 2017-present
Frequency: Virginia/Washington D.C. area, USA
Location:
Type:
Focus: Black nerd culture
Organization:
Founder: Hilton George
Founding Date:
URL: https://blerdcon.com
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Blerdcon, sometimes BlerDCon, is an annual fandom convention which "highlights and celebrates Blerd culture". The con also prides itself on being inclusive to the disabled and LGBTQ communities.

History

  • June 30 - July 2, 2017 - Arlington, Virginia
  • July 27–29, 2018 - Arlington, Virginia
  • July 12–14, 2019 - Arlington, Virginia
  • July 17th-19th, 2020 - Crystal City, Virginia

Attendee opinions

This convention had everything you’d want from the average convention: nicely-sized game area with various old-school arcade games, multiple rooms to host panels and screenings, a cosplay contest, an adorable Maid Cafe, and, of course, beautiful nerds from all backgrounds coming together to enjoy themselves around their peers. I loved how this convention never forgot that it centered on focusing on marginalized groups of people, especially on Black nerds.[1]
Pros: The positivity of the environment and being able to see and talk to so many talented cosplayers of color. Also, being able to make connections with cosplayers we probably wouldn’t have met otherwise in bigger conventions. Typically, I’m more self conscious at a convention about my appearance, but at BlerDCon I felt like no one was being judgemental, so I could be myself.

Cons: I had very few cons, but the organization of the cosplay contest can use some work. Groups were competing against single people, novices were competing against experts, children were competing against adults – categories need to be made so it won’t be as unfair. Also, the fact that there was no in person judging for craftsmanship – it was kind of a let down since I was excited to explain how I made a costume. Lastly, I think the staff could use work on enforcing people to use attendees’ pronouns respectfully since LGBTQ people are part of the crowd of BlerDCon.[1]
Spanning the 3-day weekend, there were panels about sexuality, mental health/illness in cosplay, body positivity, gender support and equality, POC cosplay and nerd culture experiences, and so much more. Of course there were your typical panels that discussed anime, comics, bodypainting, how to do stunts, tutting, etc., but what I truly noticed was the overall vibe of the convention; it felt like a 90s block party without the food. It was amazing to see faces light up as they meet friends whom they only knew from online Facebook groups, such as POC Cosplayers, or cosplay Facebook pages meet for the first time in person. Seeing overly excited attendees chatting with people they just met outside of a panel room; saying a common phrase I heard throughout the weekend: “I wish this was around when I was growing up!” The music and sounds from the arcade cabinets lightly filled the small convention space, but the louder voices filled with glee were the true soundtrack to BlerDCon.[2]

References

  1. ^ a b Oona Sura (July 6, 2017). "BlerDCon Review: First Year Convention Centered on Black Nerds and Inclusivity". Black Nerd Problems. Retrieved January 23, 2020. 
  2. ^ Mika, Ashley (July 6, 2017). "BlerDCon: The Blerdy Cookout We Needed". Pop Culture Uncovered. Retrieved January 23, 2020. 
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