Blerd Power

Blerd History Month: Allow us to reintroduce you to the black nerds you think you know.

Blerds were making plenty of moves behind the picket lines, too. The 1980s brought a revolution in black music with the rise of gangsta rap and musical acts that challenged white America on its treatment of African Americans. Among the most notable of these groups was Public Enemy, made up of Chuck D and his colorful sidekick and hype man, Flavor Flav. But before they linked up and set about fighting the power, Chuck D was in school studying graphic design, and Flavor Flav was busy teaching himself how to play more than 15 instruments. Your favorite 1980s revolutionaries are a computer blerd and a virtuoso. Fancy that.

At the end of the 20th century, blerds were active and all over the place — fighting the power, trying to get an ambulance and making your summer vacations a blast with the best water guns ever. Having helped fight for a society that made it OK to be black, blerds shifted their focus a bit. Next week we’ll look at the modern blerd and the new push to say it loud — I’m a blerd and I’m proud.

Tracy Clayton is a writer, humorist and blogger from Louisville, Ky.