Have you ever wondered who was the founder of this amazing con, BlerDCon, that is creating a place for people of color and people of all abilities in cosplay?
We were lucky enough to become friends with and sit down with the founder of BlerDCon, Hilton George. Learn more about him and see what you can expect at the con this year:
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Hilton George, and I am the creator and con chair for Blerdcon. Our inaugural event will be this June 30th through July 2nd at the Hyatt Regency Crystal City in Arlington, VA.
I am a self-described BLERD (Black-Nerd), a term coined on the show “Scrubs” to describe nerdy and geeky people of color. I am a comic book and scifi geek for the most part who recently got into cosplay in 2014. It has been amazing to see the artistry and creativity in this community that has gone global in every fandom and geekdom.
Scene from TV Show, Scrubs
Tell us about Blerdcon.
Blerdcon will be the first convention of its kind to focus on diversity and inclusion of underrepresented populations (i.e. People of color, LGBTQ, those with disabilities, women and internationals). We will be celebrating Blerd culture in an inclusive event that welcomes all, and it will have content contributions from the Latina, indigenous, LGBTQ, disabled and veteran communities.
We are hosting a 24 hour event with many staples of the con experience such as arcade games, gaming tournaments, panels, comedy show, late-night parties, music, workshops, celebrity guests and anime screenings! The key difference will be that most of our content will have hosts, speakers, sponsors and perspective from underrepresented demographics active in their genre.
How did the idea for BlerDCon come about?
I took notice of how diverse con attendance was. This was back in 2015. Every race, size, shape, color, gender and orientation, could be found at most any con. However, there lack of proportional representation on many guest lists, panels, workshops and featured cosplayers was stark. So I began asking around to see if there were any cons that focused on minority populations, like the Blerd community.
There were some events that tried and failed to gain traction, or existed as annual fests and expos in day-event format, but nothing along the lines of a full blown convention like this. So I said “Why not?”, coined the name Blerdcon and began laying the groundwork for a summer 2017 event.
Who do you want to cater to with this convention?
While the title of the con, many of the planning committee and a majority of our guests fall into the Blerd category, Blerdcon will have something for everyone regardless of fandom or demographic. We will be highlighting POC creatives like Bryan Newton, Director of “Rick and Morty”, JayFunk, spell and fight choreographer for “Doctor Strange” and several upcoming MCU movies.
We’ve partnered with a new Manga and Anime publisher and distributor, “Noir Caesar”, focused on POC artists, animators and writers! They have some amazing, world class content they will be debuting at their Blerdcon launch! Their magazine, “Monthly HYPE” will be early released to Blerdcon attendees almost a full week before the general public! Their sponsorship clinched our Kickstarter and will be taking us to a whole new level for our first year!
At the same time, we are going to be working with various organizations to bring information and content in AIDS, domestic violence, mental illness and sexual assault awareness and prevention. These issues are universally important to members of our community and we intend to bring this about to add value to the BlerDCon experience for all.
What is one of your favorite conventions to attend?
I like the community feel of Dragoncon. The gathering is so eclectic and widespread and it’s a great event for adults! Our longterm plan for BlerDCon will be to emulate some of that look and feel as we grow. We have met with regional and city leaders in Crystal City and Arlington to include them in all of our ground level planning, including them in expanding the reach and feel of Blerdcon to the business, arts, and cultural interests surrounding the Hyatt.
What kind of Panels and guests can we look forward to at BlerDCon?
We have held open submissions for panels from every quadrant of the con community. We have solicited directly panels and workshops that have had success at other conventions and focus on subject matter important to our collective community. Titles and names from packed rooms at New York City Comicon, San Diego Comicon, Dragoncon and others will be on our schedule. We have begun review and will be publishing them soon! Each panel/workshop will have its own Facebook event page for hosts to field questions, gather rsvps (helps with headcounts and room placement) and promote to their fans and followers!
As for guests, in addition to the mentioned names, we’ve got some fan favorites such as author/cosplayer Briana Lawrence, Professor Bryan Tillman, activist Tony Ray, superstar stunt person Jazzy Ellis, YouTube comedy/quirk ensemble “Pretty Brown & Nerdy” and many more! We are confirming new guests and content and will be announcing all throughout the spring!
Where can we find more information on Blerdcon?
Like our Facebook page and join our Facebook group . While you are there, RSVP our Facebook event. We would also love for you to follow us on Instagram and Twitter, as well as join the mailing list at our site www.blerdcon.com. Thank you so much Quirktastic for your partnership support! We can’t wait to have you all join us this summer!