Piccolo Is Black: A Memoir of Race, Religion, And Pop CultureEffortlessly Shines A Light On Black Nerd Experience

When I was a child, I excitedly anticipated the commute my mom and I took every Sunday to our humble Black Lutheran church in Cabrini Green. But what excited me wasn’t hearing the children’s sermons from our youth pastor or the potluck lunches that followed morning service. My excitement came from pulling out my Dragon Ball Z action figures, showing them off to my cousin Jordan, and if I could get away with it, playing with them during the service.

I adored Dragon Ball. I would book it toward the anime section of Blockbuster to habitually rent out its films and color inside the manga I twisted my mom’s arm to buy from the also very-out-of-business Borders. But of all the characters in the DBZ ensemble of otherworldly warriors, Piccolo, the series’ introverted villain-turned-Z-fighter, was who I felt the closest kinship to.

After scrounging up enough of my allowance to purchase a Piccolo keychain for my mom (I didn’t have a set of keys of my own at the time) from my school’s book fair, my mom asked why I got Piccolo instead of Goku or Vegeta, the heroes of the series.

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