Well before I could pen 16 bars or emulate my favorite point guard while driving to the basket and dishing for two points, I was a timid, shy and a hurt little boy.
As I’ve covered with people who are closest to me, I was too young to process losing a biological mother and didn’t know what fatherhood was.
Yet and still, I kept trudging along. Knowing what I now know as advocate of mental health, and soon to be therapist, that loss was the onset of a depression that I would hide from the world. Mental health was taboo and I come from a background where prayer was the answer for everything. I became an expert at masking this by forgoing my desire to play soccer and electric guitar by learning how to play basketball and rap.
Meanwhile, academically, I did very well. I read the dictionary for entertainment and wrote stories and poetry that never saw the light of day. With school, teachers were impressed by my vocabulary at a young age and not that I “talked white.”
Somehow I was chosen to do something great and it would be from and intellectual standpoint. Everything was nontraditional. My entrance to college, my mini detours and now my current role as graduate student.
I chose the title of this article as it is symbolic and ironic. The symbolism is that it is okay to be an African American man and to be known or looked at as smart. The irony comes from the fact that I was literally referred to as a ‘Black Nerd’ by a professor teaching cultural competence during the week where we were discussing macro and microagressions.
Through all of the obstacles, my desire to make a difference and support of those who love and care for me deeply will continue to defy odds and faulty stereotypes to do what I’m called to do…serve people.
The Black Nerd