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Thursday, December 4, 2014

The Nerd Element



The Nerd Element: Kimberly Walton Interview 

  
Kimberly Walton, co-founder of The Nerd Element, with Stephen Amell from CW's The Arrow

By Evan Jackson

As I spoke with Kimberly Walton, co-founder of The Nerd Element, I found myself nerding out with her about the upcoming summer blockbusters that await us in 2015. Essentially that is what she created, alongside her co-founders Llana and Natasha, when she came up with The Nerd Element. A place where you can share those thoughts and ideas on what you find interesting. The Nerd Element is an online platform for nerds, blerds, and entertainment enthusiasts alike to take a look at an array of topics. Whether it is a review on the latest comic book movie, a podcast of the most recent Scandal episode, or coverage of Comic Con the Nerd Element has it. So enjoy the site and nerd out with Kimberly Walton.      

When were you first introduced to the world of comic books, gaming, and movies?
I was young, five or six, my father was really into sci-fi. I blame my father for most of it, but it’s a good thing!

What do you find yourself “Nerding Out” to the most?
When I refer to “nerding out” I mean anything that you’re really interested in not necessarily pertaining to Nerd culture.  I find myself nerding out about mostly NFL Fantasy football. I have eleven fantasy football teams. I love the game and I’m from Texas so I love the Cowboys. Marvel as well. It started when I was totally into X-Men when I was a kid. I particularly liked The Jean Grey/Phoenix story line in the X-Men comic books, they were some of my favorites. I love gaming too. I just built a gaming computer. I find myself playing Civilization and the Dragon Age Inquisition. The Sims 4 is my guilty pleasure.

How did you come up with the idea for The Nerd Element, and when did you decide to bring in your co-founders Natasha and Llana?
I was sitting on Facebook one day and I realized my friends and I were all interested in the same topics. I figured we should create a platform so we can discuss all of them. The YouTube page happened first with the vlogs. TV Talk with Natasha and Kimberly morphed into a podcast which it is now. We created a website and officially began in October 2013. Natasha simultaneously came into the process early and Llana came shortly after.

How do you three creatively work together to make The Nerd Element what it is?
In the beginning of The Nerd Element we recognized each other strengths. Llana had experience with podcasts before she joined The Nerd Element and she also brought a lot of knowledge to The Nerd Element.  She really knows how talk to people and is business savvy. I’m more technical, getting the website up, and Natasha runs the TV show department. Natasha loves to read and loves to write and wanted to spearhead that.

What has been your favorite event that you’ve covered for The Nerd Element?
Covering Comic Con is fun because it’s Comic Con . And I went to the Marvel Event at the El Captain Theater in Los Angeles. I was two chairs away from Joss Whedon. It was a great experience being at that event and learning about the upcoming Marvel movies.

As an African American woman why is it important to be represented well in the nerd culture?
Kimberly Walton: I thought it was something that we needed to address. I know that they’re women out there. You don’t see it a lot, it’s not publicized, there has to be other people out like this. We have to make it known.  I don’t see a representation of us. This is what I wanted to change.  I don’t see people that look like me and I don’t like that. I want my nieces and nephews to have examples of what is possible out in the world. I just want to get across to people that this is normal even though you don’t see it. We are out here and we can do these things. It’s important to me. Even with women, it’s exciting to see the diversity in the world of technology and all aspects related to it.

Natasha: I've wanted for a while now to communicate in some way my love for the geeky nerdy culture.  As someone who was teased for liking to read as a kid I would like for other young black girls who may feel like they don't fit that there is a community out there for them to express themselves.  There are several websites already out there that have paved the way and I'm glad to be a part of that culture. 

Llana: It's interesting...this was never something I set out to do. Growing up I never had, the stereotypical "nerd" experiences. I was popular, wasn't bullied, and had parents who encouraged my excitement (and participated in) my love for gaming, reading sci-fi, and comics. It wasn't until I got older, that I realized that my interests were not as common among the Black community.  I actively searched for people who looked like me, and were into the same things that I was.  I found that camaraderie at SDCC, and was able to forge and actually nurture these friendships into something that in my eyes is desperately needed.

I think it hit home for me when I met a young African American lady at my Uncle's party (if you tasted his gumbo you'd know why there was a party).  We chatted and she mentioned some of the book series she had read that fell into the Sci-fi/fantasy category. I told her what I had read and made some suggestions and I'll never forget the look utter astonishment on her face (and a fair amount of squealing) that I even knew what she was talking about.  That experience really stuck with me. I want young Black people to understand that they can like whatever they want, and not fall into what the media tells them they are.

Which interviews do you and The Nerd Element and your team?
I would love to Interview people doing similar things to The Nerd Element, our nerd brethren. Such as The Nerdy Girls and Black Girl Nerds.

What has been your favorite podcast?
Orphan Black hands down was the best podcast. My sister and a friend suggested that I watched it.  I binged watch the show and became obsessed with it. It was the most fun because it got a really good reception. We had a lot of Oprhan Black fans around the world retweeted our podcast. Orphan Black fans are very loyal so when they like what you put out that’s a big deal. One of our biggest podcasts is the Scandalous Thursdays that recap Scandal episodes. I can’t emphasize enough that it’s cool, that Shonda Rhimes has her own night of television, Thursday. Also you don’t see black women leads in dramas that often. So to have two in Kerry Washington with Scandal and Viola Davis in How To Get Away With Murder is amazing.   

Where can people reach you?
People can reach us on Instagram/Twitter: @TheNerdElement


Facebook: The Nerd Element

 
Llana’s twitter: @BlerdNerd@marshallana

Llana’s Email: Llana@thenerdelement.com

Natasha’s twitter: @willcat12

Natasha’s Email: NattyWilly@thenerdelement.com

Co Founders of The Nerd Element Kimberly Walton, Natsha, and Llana

 

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