Jordan Peele, creator and director of the successful horror film, “Get Out” is the black nerd we’ve been exiling for generations.
Remember when we, the African-American community, said Black nerds weren’t a part of our community?
Remember when we, the African-American community, said Black nerds weren’t black enough?
For a group that has experienced extensive oppression, we sure do have an elitist attitude when it comes to deciding who belongs and who is ostracized. And the Black nerd has been uninvited to the cookout for quite some time now. (Don’t lie.)
Even across cultures, nerds are perceived as undesirable and/or isolated from the majority. But specifically in predominant black culture, nerdom has always been looked down upon and prevented from becoming the mainstream poster child for the average African-American profile. This could stem from our historically documented denouncement of intellect or from other sources, but either way, it’s real.
Jordan Peele symbolizes a bigger picture: The acceptance of atypical Black men, meaning those who do not fit into the watered down categories of 1) strong, 2) Black, 3) man, as we have created, are shunned and disregarded until proof of said blackness is received. For Peele, it was this moment: Get Out. He had to demonstrate his knowledge and showcase his understanding of what it is to be black by creating a masterpiece to finally be accepted. He skillfully portrayed the factual extremity of harvesting of black bodies to the everyday microaggressions we as African-Americans face — in a way never before done. What if we continued to exclude him from telling our stories because we doubted him as the messenger? A story would’ve never been told and the door for future Black horror and thriller film directors would have remained closed.
The Black community is not just the hood. I think we have arrived to a gracious understanding, that black is not a token or hall pass to listen to hip hop, shoot a ball, say the n-word, or wear Jordans — it’s bigger than that. Don’t diminish the African-American race to the confinements of hip hop culture.
Not all of us dance on rhythm.
Not all of us glorify the black plight without providing insight on means of escape.
The contributions of Black thinkers, intellectuals and “nerds” should not be overlooked. There is room for them in art form. While we have seen a gradual emergence of the “hip hop nerd,” from Lupe Fiasco to Childish Gambino, not the same graciousness has been displayed in other art arenas. Peele’s brilliance in dissecting and communicating the concept of racism in the genre of horror and comedy is a contribution worth celebrating, acknowledging, and embracing.
Enough shunning of the black nerd. We need ‘em. Congratulations to Peele on his success.
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