Introducing: Black Girls Nerd Out’s The Critical Companion

Welcome to Black Girls Create! If you’ve been here before, you know this site primarily features Black Women Creators and is home to the Harry Potter podcast #WizardTeam and Doctor Who podcast TARBIS. BGC’s mission has always been highlighting Black female creators and being a spot for discussions of critical fandom, but for a long time they’ve been divergent projects. One way we’ve decided to converge the two themes is with the Critical Companion series.

Inspired by Doctor Who’s plucky sidekicks (most notable season 10’s Bill Potts), formal literally Critical Companions 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 bi-monthly blog posts written by Black writers. We hope those writers are some of you!

Each month will have a theme and both articles will focus on that theme in one way or another. We’ll be pretty open about what kinds of articles can stem from these themes and we’ll be looking for different kinds of takes and angles. This month, our sort of test run for the series, our theme was the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I wrote about Infinity War’s main ethical thought exercise: the trolley problem and later this month, Bayana will explain what it was like watching every. single. movie and TV show in the MCU in chronological order. The themes will represent subjects that can 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? What we’re hoping for are different opinions from marginalized voices that analyze and dissect nerdy media either through the lens of that marginalization or just from that underrepresented voice.

Our first official theme in the month of July will be Fandom IRL. Do you have an interesting story about bringing your fandom interests from the page/screen/internet to real life? Did you grow up in a super nerdy household? If you didn’t grow up in a nerdy household, what was your first convention experience like? Or the first time you met nerds in the real world? Or nerds from a marginalized background? Do you keep your fandom experience strictly to the internet because of something that happened at work or school? Pitch us your stories by June 29 and we’ll select two for the month of July.

At the time, we can only afford to pay $25 for each post we accept for the Critical Companion series. We’d love to pay more, but here’s the thing: we’re broke. We have full-time jobs and bills and like to eat and buy Harry Potter merch. But we believe that if we’re asking for content from you, you should get something for it. 

If you are passionate enough about a story and would just like a friendly and safe place to post your thoughts — for the Critical Companion series or not — you can still pitch us. We can’t pay you outside of the series, but we’ll read and edit your work thoughtfully, give your byline the respect it deserves, and gush over how awesome you are. Or you can take your idea somewhere else and we’ll totally understand.

So send pitches to [email protected]. Pitches for July’s Fandom IRL theme will be due Friday, June 29. For information on basic guidelines and the upcoming themes (so you can plan ahead), check out our submissions page here. You don’t have to be a Black femme writer to pitch us, but Black women/femmes will get priority because everywhere else we’re often last.

Also if you like our mission and want to support the Critical Companion writers, Robyn, Bayana and myself, and the podcasts we create, you can find ways to donate here.

Come join us.