Introducing "Weird And Black" by Amanda Jay

Today, contributor Amanda Jay introduces her “Weird and Black” series. Later today, we’ll get a look at what it means to be a “black otaku” in 2015. So, without any further ado, I’ll let Amanda do the talking.

Weird & Black: The Introduction

This is no longer the norm.
The era many of us have waited for has finally arrived: the era in which a conversation has been started about what it means to be Black in America. Those who have been called names or had their “Blackness” questioned can let their respective flags fly from some kind of cultural sanctuary.  For the Weird and Black, questions, commentary, and judgment came not only from without, but also from within their community. As a young, middle class Black girl, I had an incredibly difficult time reconciling the image of Blackness that I viewed as the norm with my image of myself. The images of Blackness that had helped me to define my Blackness (I most identified with Whitley Gilbert, Hilary Banks, and Laura Winslow) soon faded away with my ascension to puberty, when I was lambasted by images of Blackness that did not describe myself (mostly in the realm of music videos and cultural in jokes), and in which there did not seem to be much room for deviation. All of that is merely my perspective, of course, but over time it has come to be a perspective that I have found repeated to me from other Black kids who felt similarly. We did not fit in. Our preferences were constantly questioned. We were weird, we were lame, we were wack.  

As an adult, I have come to understand that there is no qualifying measurement that determines Blackness. Weird and Black is merely a catch-all label to refer to those Black people who belong to a subculture that supercedes those more commonly recognized and accepted. This includes Otaku, comic geeks, sci-fi nerds, fantasy mongers, gamers, obsessive readers, fangirls and fanboys, cosplayers, fanfic writers, roleplayers, and so many other subsets and subcultures that could be listed ad nauseum. This series is for me, and for those like me, who do not have spaces in which these conversations about love, life, social norms, and practices are discussed openly and with the respect they are worthy of. We are not to be laughed at, sneered at, jeered at, or otherwise made mockery of. We are badass and deserve the same chance to share our thoughts about the worlds we occupy. This series is for us.  Live long and get money.
Speed on the Beat

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