Black cosplayers are one of several marginalized groups that have traditionally been unrepresented and discriminated against in many cosplaying communities. The serious lack of compelling Black characters to choose from as source material has left these cosplayers with no choice but to dress up as white and Asian characters–opening them up to derogatory and racists comments.
Tomorrow Comic Con comes to New York City and in honor of the beloved event Afropunk is paying a tribute to Black cosplayers by promoting the hashtag #BlackCosplayersRock.
Users can upload their cosplay photos using the hashtag for the possibility to appear in a followup video.
Last year cosplayer and advocate, Chaka Cumberbatch, started her own initiative to celebrate diversity within the cosplay community by starting the hashtag #28DaysofBlackCosplay on Twitter.
#28DaysOfBlackCosplay was born from the desire to foster a sense of pride, unity and community among black cosplayers. Black cosplayers are a group of people who are used to being made fun of, shut out and passed over, even as cosplay as a whole has gained more mainstream acceptance – cosplay is still just not “something you do” as a black person … It’s like the hashtag became a rallying cry – everyone wanted to participate. Cumberbatch told EW.
With continued initiatives from Cumberbath, Afropunk and other cosplayers seeking to make a difference in the cosplay communities we can hope to change ripple through to creators.
Check out some of the looks from Afropunks’ #BlackCosplayersRock below.