As editor and owner of this site, it makes me proud to be able to give voice to those that otherwise may not have one. The month of February is not important just because of we are celebrating our history that we are proud of but because this is the time to take an extra moment to be a positive light not only for our children but for the overall community as well.
Too many people from so many different walks of life unfortunately look at this month and #29daysofBlackCosplay as something that is divisive or a way to separating groups of people and sadly they are so far away from the truth. Worse is that so many fail in not asking the BASIC question of why are we even doing this in the first place.
When asked, Chaka Cumberbatch who created this initiative stated:
“#29DaysOfBlackCosplay is important because it’s all about us giving each other the visibility that we so desperately need. Believe it or not, there are black nerds coming up every day who want to cosplay, but don’t feel like they can because they’re not seeing enough of our images in the media. This is us carving out a space for ourselves, and encouraging each other to get involved. It’s important to me, because I remember how alienating it felt to be a lone black nerd growing up in Little Rock, Arkansas – and feeling like there was no real place for me to belong. I’m so grateful for the internet bringing so many of us together, and now we’re working to ensure no one else ever feels that way again. If we can convince even one black nerd to put on a costume and head to a con, I’ll be happy. That’s all it’s ever been about for me!”
This initiative is about inclusion and it’s about celebration. We don’t want to be left out simply because of how we appear. We don’t want to be seen as “the Black version” of whomever. Also it’s about promoting positive images and building self-esteem. When you look at the media, whether it’s comic books, TV or movies you would find it difficult to see positive images with people of color. Even when many of today’s comic characters have changed in their gender, race or sexual orientation, many cosplayers are still hard pressed to find a character that they can relate to. Also it’s not just among people of color. This initiative is meant to be an outlet for any minority who needs to find a way to identify that they too want a part of geekdom and exercise their voice.
Thus, what we can accomplish with cosplay is give everyone a look at what could be if the media was more diverse and representative of the world at large.
Our kids can dream they too, can be heroes.
We asked cosplayers to let us know what #29DaysofBlackCosplay means to them in one sentence.
This is what they said:
(Click on the pictures to see them at full size)