Song: “Run This Town (Bambi Remix)”
Artist: Childish Gambino
Album: (No album single)
Lyric: “Yea, the flow so absurd/It’s C.G. boy, king of the black nerds/I gotta get my Urkel on/ I won’t stop until i see an afro at Comic-Con/And not just Samurai.”
Childish Gambino is back with “DTC” to prove once again that nerds cannot fit into a one size fits all mask and cape. In this week’s song, “Run This Town (Bambi Remix)” he is out to spread a message to everybody out there that has ever experienced any sort of bullying simply for being who they are. If you have ever been teased or made fun of because you don’t fit into the stereotypes of your race or culture, or like to express yourself differently, this song is for you. Gambino talks about his experiences with such matters, just because he likes to wear pink clothing, yellow hats, and rainbow colored items people use to call him hurtful things and basically tried to destroy him just because of his style. He talks a lot about how this happens to black kids, while at the same time addressing various stereotypes. If you are a young black man who prefers a power ring to a dime bag, or likes to hit the skate park after school while listening to Coldplay and recite every syllable and letter, then you are made to believe that you should be ashamed of who you are.
Gambino said no to all of this, and tells us that we have dealt with haters like this for too long. It is well known that Childish Gambino is a huge nerd. With his #donald4spiderman campaign, various comic book references in music, TV, and comedy, and overall praise of nerd culture, Gambino is at the top of my list to wear that nerd crown. Even back in 2012 Gambino made a cameo appearance in an Image Comics series called The Li’l Depressed Boy. In issue #10, Gambino can be seen performing a concert, which inspires the main characters to get out and experience the world. The series is said to mirror Childish Gambino’s first studio album Camp. Although it is exciting to see Gambino represented in a comic book, the chosen lyric for this “DTC” reminds us that African-Americans are still vastly underrepresented in the nerd community, both in character and fandom. It may not be a surprise to most, but there are not very many black superheroes in the mainstream. Sure, we have had some: John Stewart, Storm, Black Panther, Bishop, Static Shock, Luke Cage, Falcon, and Blade. But beyond that, there aren’t an abundant amount of characters compared to white heroes – who always seem to be at the top of the comic book totem poll.
The same can be said for people who attend comic conventions around the world. Thing is, black people want to be represented at comic conventions beyond cosplay. And a majority of the time, at a majority of the conventions, that representation is not present. As the years have gone on and progressed, I believe this image and concept of the “black nerd” has been skewed and misunderstood. When people think of black nerd, they automatically think of Urkel. However, that is rarely the case nowadays. Black nerds are as diverse in their interests and styles as Iron Man is with his suits or armor. Urkel can no longer be the poster boy for black nerds. In fact I’m not so sure there even can be a go to black nerd for today, but if there had to be one, Gambino is a front runner. Currently Gambino is on the “Deep Web Tour” promoting and performing his latest album, because the internet. I know one thing, this black nerd is going to be in that crowd when he comes to Denver, CO. on April 29th. If there is one thing to take away from this article, I would say this, be who you are and love yourself because of that. It doesn’t matter if you are white, black, brown, purple, orange, green or whatever, in the end we all want to be represented and we all want to be able to embrace what we love and be embraced by those around us. Because for every person who is willing to put you down for being you, I’m sure there has to be two people who that you are pretty cool for not giving a crap what the others think. And if not, then scratch all three in the face and make it known that they just got beat up by a nerd. So stay nerdy, stay proud, and be open to new experiences, because you never know if that person sitting next to you on the bus stop is also on their way to the comic book shop.