These Black Anime Cosplay Gworls Are Giving…
May 9, 2022
As baffling as it may seem, in the year 2022, Black folks are still looking for representation in so many places. Not least of which is anime cosplay. From the fact that Blerds are still marginalized within the larger Black community, to the lack of Black representation in comics and anime, Black cosplayers haven’t always had the easiest time.
But that has been far from a deterrent for a community that continues to grow and create spaces of its own. From getting creative with the characters they choose to represent, to subtly fighting for inclusion by simply existing and doing what they love.
“Being a black cosplayer is awesome for more reasons than one,” says Atlanta-based cosplayer and artist Kai.Esh_Black. “It’s a representation of the change in tide, in which many of the things that were once deemed uncool or meant for a particular ethnicity have now catapulted their way to the forefront of pop culture as a whole.”
Social media has helped Black cosplayers not only find community, but also find creative ways to play characters who don’t necessarily look like them. It’s a community that supports, encourages, and inspires each other, as demonstrated by collaborations like this #PassTheBrush video posted by Jazz The Bat.
While many have been able to find an amazing network of fellow POC cosplayers, there remains a lot of discrimination in the fandom world. Call it wanting to be true to the vision of anime artists or anti-blackness, but the fact remains that way too many people are truly bothered by Black people portraying non-Black fictional characters.
“There are people that will look down on a POC cosplay because the fictional character is NOT Black,” says social media influencer and RPC Studios ambassador Cosplay Nay, “and other times they will only recommend a specific character for you to cosplay because they’re Black, forgetting the most important part of cosplay is that ‘Cosplay is for EVERYONE.’”
While more and more characters of color are making their way into the anime and comic world, the work to change this attitude among fans continues.
“The cosplay community and its receptiveness of cosplayers of color is a work in progress,” adds Kai.Esh_Black. “I do think the changes that are necessary to bring forth inclusion have already begun. From the pages to the tv screen, to the big screen, change is upon the horizon. The rest is up to us cosplayers. We must educate the uneducated, promote, and support one another despite race, sex, etc.”
At the center of that work are Black women. Because… of course! Here are a few of our faves anime cosplayers:
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