This is the final week of #28DaysofBlackCosplay. All month we have seen cosplayers talk about why this movement is special to them. If you have been following this hashtag on Twitter or Instagram, you have seen many talented cosplayers from all over give their take on traditionally white characters and show why it’s okay to show your love for those characters. If you have been following, you have seen cosplayers from all walks of life and all age ranges show that we too are talented and great at what we do. Below, we have one more set of cosplayers who show off their skill and tell why this movement is important to them.
Name: Kenneth and Shaunte D.
From: Vallejo CA is where we’re located. Been married for 4yrs, just as long as we’ve been cosplaying
Cosplay: Misty Knight (Marvel) and Adonis Creed (Creed/Rocky).
The reason we believe #28daysofblackcosplay is so important is that it shows that we, as a culture, are very opened minded and creative, not just in music, sports, etc. but in a media that’s new and different to an upcoming generation of cosplayers.
Name: Matthew O.
From: Brooklyn NY, currently residing in Edgewood MD
Cosplay: Green Arrow from DC comics
28 Days of Black Cosplay is important because its about black representation. Too many times do we see black cosplayers shunned in the cosplay community due to the color of their skin. Too many times we are the “black version” of a character instead of just the character. 28 Days is important to not only let people know that there are many cosplayers of color but to show young kids that you can be ANY superhero you want, regardless of your skin color.
Name: Briana L.
From: St. Paul, MN (originally from Chicago, IL)
Cosplay: Rainbow Brite (based on my own design, made by my partner, SnowCosplays)
Why 28 Days is important: It’s nice to see so many black cosplayers highlighted in a positive light. Cosplay is about having fun, but I feel like we’re seen the most when we’re defending ourselves from negativity. Of course, it’s important to speak out about the various issues we face, but I feel like I rarely see us being put in the spotlight because our costumes are great or because we’re out having fun, so it’s nice to take a moment to share our cosplays and say, “This looks nice,” and, “I love this character,” instead of, “Yes, I know this character isn’t black,” or, “Please don’t call me a ghetto version of this character.”
Pros and Cons Cosplay
Cosplay From Left to Right: Balthier from Final Fantasy XII and Vayne from Final Fantasy XII. Photo Credit: Firekissed Photography
28 Days of Black Cosplay means representation. There are a plethora of talented cosplayers of all races, but many mainstream media sources only seem to feature those with light skin. 28 Days of Black Cosplay shows that Black cosplayers are out there killing the cosplay game as well. The skin you are born with shouldn’t preclude recognition of talent, and it is always the right hue–there is no need to change your race to pull off an incredible cosplay.
Name: Christina C.
From: Beaverton, OR.
Cosplay: Imperial Combat Driver (Star Wars Rebels)
I came late to cosplay. I’ve known about it for years, but I never knew of other people of color to do it. As the Internet gained breadth and popularity (because I’m old enough to have lived without it), I would see occasional things about POC cosplaying and none of it was positive. It kept me from getting involved.
Eventually I figured it was best to do what I loved and not worry about unwelcome opinions and I found welcoming groups in which to do it, but I still see so few POC enjoying this fun and geeky pursuit. It’s not enough that people can see cosplay as more mainstream, they need to see POC specifically so they know it’s an environment where they can be themselves and express their creativity.
Although most of my costumes are helmeted, I have trading cards I hand out with my face on it. When I meet small children of color that are scared or uncomfortable, I take my gloves off. If I can help one child who feels out of place and turns to cosplay to belong, I’ve done my job.
Name: Diara P (Dee Cosplay)
From: Philadelphia, PA
Cosplay: Jade from Mortal Kombat.
#28DaysofBlackCosplay is important to me because it gives people of color an opportunity to feel proud of their geekiness. Growing up, I remember being teased for enjoying things such as video games, wanting to be characters from my favorite video game or anime, the type of music I enjoyed listening to, even down to the people I hung out with. People would call me an “Oreo” or other stupid names because I wasn’t their stereotypical view of how a “black girl” should be. Even today, I still get remarks like “you’re pretty for a black girl.” For me, #28DaysofBlackCosplay allows me to embrace who I am and what I enjoy and reminds me that I am not alone. I am proud of the person that I am today, despite those words of ignorance from people who choose to be narrow minded. This community reminds me that I am beautiful, I am appreciated, I am loved and I am not “the black version” of whatever. We can all have fun just being ourselves and being whoever/whatever we like comfortably in an accepting community.
Name: TaLynn K
From: Atlanta by way of Philadelphia
Cosplay: Bleez – Red Lantern from DC Comics
Photo by Dru Phillips (http://ampcosplay.tumblr.com/)
Photoshop by Acdramon’s Artist Cove (https://www.facebook.com/AveryByrdArt/)
Being Black means being born into a struggle to see yourself as human despite a global PR campaign designed to suggest otherwise. But my life isn’t always struggle. It’s a lot of fun and cosplay is one of those fun things I do. #28DaysOfBlackCosplay is an opportunity to share that joy publicly and to remind each other that Black joy exists.