We Black and Nerds
Thanks for being interested in contributing to the We Black and Nerds blog! We are committed to being a hub for Black women and nerds not only to create, but to build a space that is representative of our realities and experiences, as a way to counter the ones largely depicted in the mainstream.
The Critical Companion
Our mission has always been to both highlight Black creators and to be a place for discussions of critical fandom. One way we’ve decided to converge the two themes is with the Critical Companion series.
Inspired by Doctor Who’s plucky sidekicks (most notably, season 10’s Bill Potts), formal literary critics discussing an author’s breadth of work, as well as our mission to provide a platform for marginalized creators, the Critical Companion series will feature blog posts written by Black writers. We hope those writers are some of you!
We are largely looking for pieces that delve into the idea of critical fandom — how do we as fans analyze our favorite things with care and consider the wider world that the fandom either represents or ignores? We always love personal essays about growing up nerdy, early fandom experiences, and pivotal moments in your own nerdy lives.
Pitches are taken on a rolling basis. Posting will typically occur on the 2nd and 4th Thursdays of the month.
Word Count: approx. 700 words
Price: $50 per post
Email: pitches [at] blackgirlscreate [dot] org. Please include “Critical Companion” in the subject header.
**If you would like to submit pitches outside of these particular parameters, please feel free to do so. However, please be advised that we are unable to pay for posts outside of the Critical Companion at this time. We encourage pitching to other paid outlets and reaching out to us to cross-post and/or signal boost once accepted.
For ideas of themes we find interesting and the kinds of posts we look for, take a look at these previous writing prompts:
Essays about growing up nerdy, your experiences in fandom, your first fandom memory, first convention experience, first time meeting other nerds in real life, etc. Especially those coming from a Black perspective.
Essays ranging from why you like time travel despite being Black and geeking out on the rules of time travel, to comparing shows with different uses of time travel (e.g. Timeless vs Doctor Who), or rankings of shows with the best time travel. Let the infinite possibility of time travel inspire you to pitch us something unique.
Were you prevented from reading, watching, or engaging in something nerdy when you were younger? Because of religion or parents who just didn’t get it? Beyond “Harry Potter is the devil,” what were your experiences sneaking in this thing or coming to it later in life? Did you join in because it was rebellious or because you found the medium between why it was banned and why banning it makes no sense (i.e. Christian kids coming to Harry Potter and realizing it, in fact, has positive religious themes)?
Politics in Speculative Fiction:
How are political systems reflected in SFF? How are political rebellion and resistance portrayed through characters of color? How do spec fic politics reflect the real world? How do you navigate the political landscape in things like Harry Potter, which imply post-racial societies, but are clearly not? Go deep!
The Family That Nerds Together:
We’ve talked being differently nerdy than your family, now let’s talk about how you nerd out together. Give us essays on your first experiences with Lord of the Rings or Star Trek because of your mom or dad. Family trips you’ve taken steeped in nerdy stops. How some SFF property brought your family together. Are your family lines deeply fractured in a Trek vs Wars familial war? Give us your heartwarming, your funny, your interesting tales of family nerdery.
For more ideas and examples of what we are looking for, check out our previous Critical Companion pieces.