"It’s like a new closet that everyone is coming out of," said Twitter user Mr. Shadow of Hollywood's sudden obsession with all things "nerdy." Between Drake admitting to his love of Epic's new video game Fortnite to Kim Kardashian and Michael B. Jordan sharing their interest in anime, it seems like the stigma around nerd culture is lifting while stars bring it to the mainstream.
On March 14, a man named Ninja, who has become well-known for live-streaming on website Twitch while playing video games, signed on for a regular stream of the incredibly popular new game Fortnight: Battle Royale. However, things got crazy when none other than Drake, using the screen name TheBoyDuddus, signed on to play with him. He wasn't as talented as Ninja, but he held his own. It was clear that he's a true fan of the game, and it was also obvious that he'd followed Ninja as a fan for several years. Kylie Jenner's baby daddy Travis Scott gave Drake a call mid-game and asked to join, which he did. The stream soon had over 600,000 people watching live, more than any other Twitch stream in history.
This prompted famous gamer Jason Bates AKA ANTi to tweet, "Drake playing Fortnite on Twitch. Kim Kardashian posting anime to her Instagram. Michael B Jordan saying he likes anime in an interview. 2018 is a good year for the culture." And it is, as one reply so eloquently put it, "the year of the nerds!!!!" This is not celebrities "admitting" to enjoying things like anime or video games as a "guilty pleasure," as so many have done in the past. We're talking about stars shouting from the rooftops how much they love the things they love, and that's a good sign for regular people who have felt the need to hide their interests for being too "nerdy" in the past.
Drake isn't the only one to enjoy videos games and be open about it. In the past few months, rapper Post Malone has taken to Twitch to stream himself playing Call of Duty and Player Unknown's Battlegrounds. Snoop Dogg also recently streamed himself playing a survival game called SOS... while smoking a blunt, no less. Even tough-guy NFL baller Richard Sherman has been singing the praises of Fortnite on Twitter lately, with tweets like, "First solo on the Fortnite mobile app and I got a win!!!!!! I’m on!!!!!!"
But it doesn't stop with video games. As ANTi mentioned, Kim has not only revealed that she liked anime, but that she went so far as to dye her hair because of it. When she turned her mane pink recently, a fan tweeted her saying, "She literally looks like an anime character with the pink hair and funky fits!" Kim responded, "I am obsessed with anime. That was legit my inspo." She then took to Instagram to post a photo of the character from Darling In The Franxx that inspired her, and fans went nuts. Many called her a "weeb" or "weeaboo," which according to Dictionary.com is "a mostly derogatory slang term for a Western person who is obsessed with Japanese culture." However, many fans of anime have adopted this term for themselves, so they could mean it lovingly toward Kim. Regardless, she doesn't seem to care, and that's the kind of attitude that young people should learn to take about their interests. "I like it, so what?"
Kim is joined in her obsession by Black Panther actor Michael B. Jordan, who has talked about his obsession frequently. In an interview with Vogue from 2017, Michael says he's wanted to visit Tokyo, Japan because he loves anime so much. "It's the best," he says. Fans even noticed that his Erik Killmonger outfit from Black Panther heavily resembled the armor worn by the character Vegeta in Dragon Ball Z, and it turns out that's one of Michael's favorite shows.
Not just liking anime... cosplaying fucking Vegeta X_x— Arlieth@TheCorgiWhisperer (@Arlieth) March 15, 2018
When I saw the costume comparison I was like BRUH pic.twitter.com/SPU4Tj3yZN
The trend even includes cetain music. John Cena, the toughest and literally least-nerdy man in the whole world, insists that he's part of the BTS Army, the fans of Korean pop band BTS. "I will say, 'Base Line' is my favorite track on the J-Hope mixtape," he told Metro, proving his love. "I also like 'Hangsang'. What started as a happy accident has turned into something wonderful. I’ve been introduced to a new piece of culture, which I think is fantastic, because I’m learning through social media." Now John will be exposing that culture even more, but not everyone is happy about it.
"The more these 'popular figures' talk about how much they like it, the more people who just want to follow trends will jump in," said a Twitter user on ANTi's tweet. "That CAN be good, in the cases like -gag- Drake and Kim who are talking about more obscure things. But it could be ruinous." It's a ommon theme that fans are affraid stars will popularize their clture and thus flood it with people, taking away from it beng a haven to them. "So it's gonna become mainstream and people are gonna start bandwagoning the trend and pretend to like anime," said another.
The frustration is understandable, but other fans pointed out why it can also be so positive. These stars are showing young kids that these things are just as cool as any other hobby or interest, which could prevent bullying, shame, and fear of being judged. That's pretty darn cool, if you ask us.