“Through nerd shit all connections are possible,” proclaims Omar Holmon in the introduction to Black Nerd Problems, the collection of essays based on the website and podcast he founded in 2014 with fellow writer William Evans. The book, which debuted this September, is an amalgamation of new and archived takes from the duo, covering everything from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to “The Sobering Reality of Actual Black Nerd Problems,” one of its 48 entries.
But as Evans and Holmon explain on this week’s episode of The Root Presents: It’s Lit!, they didn’t immediately jump at the chance to translate their hot takes to book form.
“I think one of the things that we sat with was, ‘OK...we’ve been approached to write a book and what does that mean?’” Evans explains. “It really was like, ‘OK, what are our ideas about what a book should look like? And frankly, how can we break that, right—as far as, like a nonfiction account?’ And so, it had to be authentic to us. It had to be our voice; it had to be our style. And also just keeping it nine thousand, like, ‘OK, we’re going to be published on a big press...[and] we Black as hell! Like, we cuss, we make these references. That’s not a thing that we can compromise in our language, specifically.’ And that was like the big, big thing on the table. (“It was kind of big,” Holman interjects.)
“That’s how we speak. And so I think for us, that part of it—in terms of like visualizing what we look like in a book form—was probably one of the the harder parts of just making sure that we could stay authentic to ourselves,” Evans adds.
Hear more from the hilarious and authentic Evans and Holmon in Episode 59 of The Root Presents: It’s Lit!: Solving Black Nerd Problems, With William Evans and Omar Holmon, available on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, iHeart Radio, Google Podcasts, Amazon, NPR One, TuneIn, and Radio Public.