William Evans and Omar Holmon met at the 2008 National Poetry Slam while representing different cities. Fast forward to 2021, they are publishing a book together. Their joint collection of essays “Black Nerd Problems” just hit stores.
âWe became really good friends and realized we both had an affinity for nerd and pop culture stuff,â said Evans, who lives in Ohio, while Holmon is in New York, during a recent call.
In 2013, Evans pitched an idea to his friend: What if they launched a website that shared their views on pop culture?
âI expected to discuss it over the next few weeks. The next day he said to me, ‘We need people to do this. Who should we do this? ‘ Says Holmon. While the duo could have focused on their own take on pop culture, they immediately wanted to bring in other perspectives, turning to their social media and reaching out to friends online to participate in the BlackNerdProblems.com website, launched in 2014.
âIt was like the Avengers got together,â says Holmon.
Evans points out that Black Nerd Problems developed during a time when there were communities and websites that focused on the perspectives of marginalized voices in pop culture journalism. âI think what made us different is that we were just our authentic voice,â he adds.
This ended up working to the advantage of the site. Seeing how their friends’ contribution broadened their interests and the diversity of voices, they realized that it could also “have the same effect for people who came to the site,” says Evans.
Evans and Holmon cover a wide range of the pop culture landscape – from comics and cartoons to TV series and video games are referenced – while also digging into America’s racial history and history. attacking the problems of representation in the media.
So how did it become a book?
âI was working on a book, a collection of poetry, a few years ago and I was lucky enough to be picked up by a major press,â explains Evans. During this project, the topic of turning Black Nerd Problems into a book came up. âWe were told, ‘Would you consider this to be a collection? Â»Â», He remembers.
It was an interesting, albeit unexpected, proposition. âWe got into this because we want to have fun online and share that with people, have fun with it and wave our nerd flag,â says Evans. “I don’t think we ever imagined we would publish this work, but it was intriguing.”
Evans and Holmon write with an enthusiasm and humor that matches the excitement of their voices on our phone call. Their essays, with headlines like âHate It Here: Food Wars Would Be The Boringest Anime To Liveâ and âIt’s Time We Stop Pretending Simba Wasn’t Dumpster in ‘The Lion King’ “take on a more thoughtful tone of conversations with friends.
âThe way we write is the way we speak and we wanted to make sure that people feel represented that way, that we haven’t changed the code, that we haven’t adjusted our voice because our words were going to be in print or because we were hoping to have a larger audience, âsays Evans. “It was going to sound like us again.”
Although the book is a new benchmark, Holmon notes that it was at some point that he realized they were having success with the website. âWhen comments are garbage, we’ve done it,â he says.
“Omar always reads the comments,” says Evans. “I don’t. I can’t.