Chattanooga resident Seun Erinle recently created a website to celebrate blerds—black nerds. And the most recent update to the site, which is called BlerdNation, is the addition of an online retail store.
"[I started the] website to showcase what unique, talented black nerds are doing around the world," Erinle, who is a graphic and website designer, said.
CNN reported last year about the "rise of the black nerd in pop culture," and defined the term as "a way to describe African-American intellectuals in a time when it's finally cool to be something other than an athlete or rapper."
Erinle said, to her, the term describes someone who is uniquely passionate about something. It has nothing to do with the stereotypical image of a nerd wearing big glasses and a pocket protector, she said.
And, you don't have to be black to browse or shop on the site, she said.
"It's for anybody—lovers of blerd culture, nerd culture, people that live outside the box," she said.
The website, which Erinle designed, allows users to message BlerdNation and get a featured profile. The site also highlights news and entertainment information in its media section and has a blog portion, which features stories from different blerds.
Erinle did got help with the site during a recent 48-Hour Launch business pitch competition, and although she created the website before the event, that's when it blossomed, she said.
Dustin Hysinger did the art for the BlerdNation logo, and she's also gotten help from web developer Greg Brock, she said.
She's looking for additional funding to continue to develop the site and has some new features in mind, such as polls, videos and a Tumblr feature where users can post pictures of themselves wearing or using the merchandise bought on the BlerdNation site.
A portion of all the proceeds from the store will support nonprofits, such as Black Girls Code.
And Erinle is looking for unique advertisers that cater to the site's demographic of young professionals, she said.
BlerdNation is an online tool to connect people.
"There are different subcultures in our lives and there's a group for everybody," she said. "There's also positivity and encouragement to support other groups. You can be positive about what other subcultures are doing."
Updated @ 10:14 a.m. to correct typos.
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