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15 of TV’s Favorite Black Nerds: This Is Us’ Randall, Westworld’s Bernard, Insecure’s Molly, and More

The coolest of the uncool in the model of venerated real-life black nerds like President Barack Obama and Neil deGrasse Tyson

by | December 6, 2016 | Comments

This Is Us - Sterling K. Brown (Ron Batzdorff/NBC)

On the latest This Is Us, Randall (Sterling K. Brown) furiously bared his soul to an apparition of his late father Jack (Milo Ventimiglia) after discovering that his mom Rebecca (Mandy Moore) kept him from his biological father William (Ron Cephas Jones).

“I spent my life striving for perfection,” Randall tearfully told the ghost of the man who loved and adopted him. “You know why, Dad? Because I live in fear that if I let up for a moment, I will remember that I am unwanted.”

While Randall’s fears stem from his birth parents abandoning him, there is something incredibly universal about his use of the word “unwanted” when it comes to black nerds. In a culture where athletes and rap stars dictate what is cool, black nerds work smarter not harder and prove it’s equally hip to be square.

Randall is cool in an uncool way like President Barack Obama — the king of black nerds — and he’s self-deprecating like Steve Urkel (Jaleel White). He’s as brilliant as real-life astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson and embraces fatherhood like Earn (Donald Glover) on Atlanta. He has a goofy laugh, a lucrative, but ambiguous career that involves math and a heart of gold — and fans can’t get enough.

In honor of Randall, we’re celebrating his character and all the black nerds who have made TV a better place just in time for the fall finale of This Is Us.


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