by Aitch Cee
As we open up February of 2015, many of us have seen in the past year some of the negative images that Black have been subjected to. There was Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, Eric Garner’s murder in NYC and so many others. In other areas, we have seen issues in sports such as Ray Rice abusing his then fiancé, Adrian Peterson abusing his children and many more. Not to mention in other entertainment there was a black eye against Black Greek Letter Sororities with Sorority Sisters and, depending on how you look at it, “Empire” is spinning some seriously negative images about Blacks and the networks are reaping all of the rewards for it. Even in the comics industry, while a few more Black characters are being featured, there is still hardly any Black talent creating any work for Marvel, DC or Image which hopefully will be corrected by Milestone, upon reopening their studios, later this year.
Even comic fans have been in an uproar as Michael B. Jordan being the Human Torch and Sam Wilson (temporarily) becoming Captain America. With all of this happening around us, one of the few places left for some of us to look up to for positive images are cosplayers. Even within our own community, we have had issues with non-Black people appropriating Black culture as they see fit or worse telling people of color that they can’t cosplay certain characters because they are Black.
28 Days of Black Cosplay is a celebration of not just cosplay, but of positive images. This is an effort started by Chaka Cumberbatch as well as many others of us to bring a positive light to cosplaying and raising self esteem. 28 Days of Black Cosplay is meant to give the world a look at the work we do and the inspiration we give to those seeking guidance. There are many people out there who are afraid to cosplay certain characters because too many times they have been told that they can’t simply based on the color of their skin. The aim of this is to squash that notion and let those who want to believe that they can be a character, do so without discrimination. The aim is to show that we don’t have to be pushed into certain corners because there are a certain amount of characters that can cosplayed and that’s it. Regardless if it’s Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, or Sailor Moon, one should not be barred from doing it. We also really need those to that way those coming behind us will see that there are great things that we are doing. Some of us are not just cosplaying characters but we are also building these costumes, we are staying in school to learn about graphic design, mathematics, sewing, and fabric construction as these costumes don’t assemble themselves. Kids today need to see that there are many reasons to get an education and who knows, one day one of them may actually learn how to build a fully functioning repulsor beam. Others of us are also photographers and many of us have been taught in school how to make some of our photos look hyper real and if we continue to do these things, today’s kids will believe that anything is possible if they are given a reason to learn.
The simplest thing one can do to participate is spread the hashtag #28daysofblackcosplay on twitter, instagram and tumblr. If you really want to be a part, post your picture; also be on the lookout on Facebook as various cosplayers will be featured throughout the month and some will even include why they believe in this project.
Below are some great examples of Black Cosplay