When the Black Panther came out in 2018, I was fortunate enough to attend that first celebration of superhero Black Excellence in downtown Brooklyn. It was a true celebration of Blerds.
Now in 2022 and the release of the highly anticipated follow-up movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever For All Nerds co-hosts Tatiana King, and DJ BenHameen joined with Nitehawk Cinema – Prospect Park, BLERD City Con – Clairesa Clay, Super Vibes DJ Academy – NYC, The Blerd Gurl – Karama Horne (author of Protectors of Wakanda,) and Anyone Comics to do it again with another night Blerd Excellence with the Crown Wakanda Forever – Black Panther Screening.
The Nitehawk’s Trees Lounge Bar was the spot for the social aspects of the event, with pre and post-party music provided by For All Nerds’ DJ BenHameen. Attendees were asked to wear their finest whites or African garb and take advantage of the purple-carpet entrance and photo station.
Folks could also purchase a copy of the new book Protectors of Wakanda and get it signed by The Blerd Gurl herself. Protectors of Wakanda is a history and training manual for Wakanda’s Women Warriors, the Dora Milaje.
There were free posters and t-shirts for everyone to take home inside the theater. And if you were so inclined, besides their usual fair, the Nitehawk had a themed drink called the Heart-Shaped Herb (Spearhead Baobab Gin, palm syrup, liqueur de banane, ginger, hibiscus, lime, butterfly pea flower) and the Rise Tlālōcān (plantain tamale, shredded pork griot, peanut sauce, pikliz) for fans to order.
And because they wanted to share this excellence with everyone, on Saturday the 12th, there was a special screening for the community’s young people, with free popcorn, drinks, and comic-related gifts.
As folks were doing their thing at the before and after parties, I asked Tatiana King and Clairesa Clay a couple of questions about the event.
BlackSci-Fi: What’s the personal and societal importance of events like this centered around Black Fandom?
Tatiana King: Fan events like Crown Wakanda provide authentic and genuine connections within the cultural groups we target, and provide a unique space to share in fellowship, fun, and most importantly–understanding. Community is everything for people of color, so to provide an opportunity to bring all these communities together through love is invaluable. It’s through that love and that trust that we can support positive and elevating experiences.
Clairesa Clay: I wanted a Blerd Wakanda experience of celebrating with people that culturally celebrate their African heritage from multi perspectives, while watching an exemplified film that embodies are best- actors, designers, and directors utilizing Afrofuturistic elements to reimagine wealth, power, and intelligence controlled by people of color. I also wanted to say how extremely important it was to partner with For All Nerds which had the vision of incorporating a youth free screening.
BlackSci-Fi: Building community is always a labor-intensive goal, add to it the nerdy facets, what will be the thing that makes you smile the most after it’s all said and done?
Tatiana King: It’s a beautiful feedback loop that elevates the relationships between communities and makes us all that much stronger. Our solidarity as Black people and peoples all over the world will be what progresses us.
Clairesa Clay: This is at the heart of Blerd City Con to always celebrate, get our nerd on, and activate our social service to our community.
A fantastic event for a fantastic movie. Wakanda Forever!
George Carmona 3rd is a contributing writer on comics and nerd culture for BlackSci-fi.com and Comics Beat. He is the author of the DC Super Friends Joke Book from Penguin Random House and a co-creator of the Access Guide to the Black Comic Book Community.