It’s been a while since I’ve shared my thoughts on cosplay. However, I think it’s time that I once again shared my thoughts and opinion on a recent development in the cosplay community, one that has one group of people being very vocal about it. Yes, I’m talking about the #BlackCosplayerHere any other variation of this movement.
So before I get started, if you want to get an idea of my mindset when it comes to cosplaying, check out What Do You Consider To Be Cosplay? In that blog I touched on a number of things on how I feel about cosplay. Once of those things is the treatment of PoC when it comes to cosplaying. Today, I wanted to dive a little bit deeper into that subject and share my own opinions.
If you’re at least interested in cosplaying, or just watching other people cosplay, then you’d have noticed a number of people voicing out their frustration about the treatment of PoC in the cosplay community. It ranges from being told to cosplay someone of their own skin tone, being told that they’re the “dark” version of a white fictional character to just being harassed online for “ruining their fictional character” by bottom feeders.
I've been at this since 2013, was called "black Nightwing", "Spidey n*****", etc. Took me a while to get the strength to not let the hate phase me. To all the PoC cosplayers on Twitter: I hear you, I respect you. We matter. Let's keep making awesome happen. #BlackCosplayerHere pic.twitter.com/Sea81ZKL6y
— 🇩🇴 🏳️🌈 BLM | MelPool (@melpoolcosplay) June 5, 2018
There’s also the neglection of photographs opportunities at conventions. Many have voiced that at certain conventions, professional photographers would often opt to avoid taking photos of PoC cosplayers. It’s also said that websites and YouTube channels that feature cosplayers in a sort of montage, rarely ever featuring PoC. And if they do, it’s often in small amounts.
– Black cosplayers are severely lacking in representation and deserve more spotlight.
– There are more than 5 black cosplayers that deserve spotlight. There aren't just a handful of us that exist.
– If you're a photog who blatantly dismisses black cosplayers, yer a shit.
— 💀LaydiexPerroPequeño✊🏽💖💜💙💀 (@LaydiexSkull) June 3, 2018
Because of this, it gives off the impression that there aren’t that many people of colour cosplaying, which is often the excuse used to justify this act. Clearly this isn’t the case as cosplayers of all shades aren’t too hard to find at conventions:
This then led to the creation of the hashtag called #BlackCosplayerHere, created by @CluelessxBelle, in an effort to gather Black and other PoC together and celebrate the fact that anyone of any background can cosplay and have fun doing it. What’s more troubling though isn’t just the fact that PoC cosplayers have to deal with internet losers on a constant bases, the discrimination also comes from within their own cosplay community.
Dear black cosplayers,
Please don’t ever let the neglect from others in the cosplay community effect your self worth. You are JUST as good of a cosplayer, you WORK just as hard, you are just as beautiful and you are just as WORTHY. Don’t let anyones ignorance dull your shine.
— 𝓴𝓪𝔂 🐻 𝓫𝓮𝓪𝓻 (@kayyybearxo) June 7, 2018
Often enough you’ll see non-PoC make remakes such as, “You should cosplay as a dark-skinned character instead”, “your skin tone make your cosplay look ugly” or “White fictional characters should be cosplayed by white cosplayers to be canonically correct”! Here’s a perfect example of such mindset from actual people:
This is what the fuck we talk about when we say we aren’t accepted as a group. We are never just cosplayers. We will always be slandered and bullshitted. Smfh #BlackCosplayerHere #blackcosplayer pic.twitter.com/ofpnebFT58
— izzy saeko 💫 (@izzysaek0) June 19, 2018
What hurts me here is the fact that the Miiza Hime’s only crime was sharing her excitement of seeing Mary Rihter cosplaying as one of her favorite fictional character. Mary tries to justify her responds by saying that in Russia, this is normal but that just further proves how ignorant herself and anyone else from Russia who feels this way about it.
To pour more salt unto the wound, these are the same types of people that are ready to congratulate a white cosplayer that paints their skin black or darkens their skins to match a Black or PoC fictional characters without realizing just how insensitive and bordeline vacuous their action is in general.
Like, the level of hypocrisy here couldn’t be greater than this.
This types of people exists, the harassment and neglection that PoC cosplayers experience on a daily bases exists and trying to act or say ” ugh….I mean, I haven’t experienced or seen anything like that” as non-PoC and PoC is borderline moronic. There’s no way in hell you could not be aware of what is happening in your own community. This isn’t some back alley issue, this is something that’s on a large scale bases. Heck, I’m aware of this crap and I don’t even cosplay!
Now what’s interesting about of all this, is the fact that ONLY the PoC are vocal about this issue. It’s funny that you’ll rarely ever see a Caucasian cosplayer speak up against this type of behavior. And if they do, it’s often something on the lines of “We all bleed red”, “All lives matter” or something generic like that when voicing out. Besides that, they rarely show any support it terms of retweeting, sharing or even just liking a pic or two of a PoC to show support.
Don’t get the wrong idea, it’s not an obligation to do any of that. My point is that, talking means nothing without action, and action speaks way louder than anything else.
I just wanted to voice my own two cents on this topic and bring it some light, even if it’s just a little bit. We all watch and enjoy the same shit. We all have our favorite characters that click with us in certain ways. And sometimes, we want to dress up as those characters to have fun. That’s the key word here…FUN!
We have a long ass way to go as a human race and being quiet about it will get us nowhere! We here, we’re nerds and we ain’t going nowhere!