Once upon a time, I inadvertently started a cosplay race war on Tumblr. Whoops.

So, here’s the deal: I’m a cosplayer. If you don’t already know one of us in person, (and you probably do) (WE’RE EVERYWHERE) you’ve probably seen people like me on the news — all dolled up in a rainbow of face paint and eye popping wigs, 50 shades of spandex and skyscraper shoes, for the sake of expressing love for and bringing our favorite characters to life at sci-fi, comic book, video game and anime conventions.

Since I started cosplaying in 2008, I’ve traveled the country, hitting up as many cons as financially possible. all the while making incredible friends, unforgettable memories and lugging hard-to-get-through-airport-security props along the way. (Have you ever tried to fly with a dress made out of plastic bubbles? Fun fact — YOU CAN’T. But you can ship it to your hotel!)

Here’s the second deal: I’m also black. Which is fine by most everyone, until I have the audacity to cosplay a character who isn’t.

After my pictures started making the rounds on deviantArt, tumblr and 4chan, it became pretty clear that my cosplay brings all the racists to the yard, and they’re like…white cosplay is better than yours.

I got a crash course in this when in 2010, I cosplayed Sailor Venus, my favorite character from my favorite anime, Sailor Moon. I found a fellow cosplayer to commission it from, as I wasn’t able to sew at the time, and worked carefully with her to bring the costume to life. I then constructed all of my accessories, agonized over choosing a shade of blonde I thought would compliment me, and wore her to A-Kon 21, a yearly anime convention in Dallas.

One of the big draws for cosplayers at cons is going to the series-specific photoshoot, where you gather with other people doing characters from the same series and pose for pictures. While at the Sailor Moon shoot, I chatted up and befriended a photographer who took the now infamous picture of me that would eventually go on to accompany numerous blog and forum posts arguing about whether or not black people should cosplay outside of their race.

image

I thought I’d just post this picture on my Facebook and be done with it. Little did I know…

“For a black cosplayer (not to be racist) she did an amazing job!” the original Tumblr post read. It was later was edited to include “I love her skin tone” after all hell broke loose.

Personally, I’ve always been stuck on those first few words: “for a black cosplayer.” As if the bar was set lower for us, as if we weren’t expected to perform on the same level as white cosplayers.

I lost track of how many times the post was liked, reblogged, linked to other websites — even now, nearly three years after the picture was taken, complete strangers will come up and reference it to me at cons, and it’s even come up in job interviews. My Venus became the unintentional face of the cosplay race debate online, an unwitting example of “Black cosplayers doing it right,” as if 9 times out of 10, black cosplayers were doing it wrong by default.

What kills me is that in person, nobody has the balls to say a word about whether or not they think darker-skinned people should cosplay lighter skinned characters — but online is a completely different animal. Online, I was “Nigger Venus,” and “Sailor Venus Williams” because I am black.

My nose was too wide, lips were too big, I had a “face like a gorilla” and wasn’t suited for such a cute character, because I am black. My wig was too blonde, my wig wasn’t blonde enough, or, my wig was ghetto because I was making it ghetto, by being black and having it on my head.

And furthermore, if I was going to insist on “ruining characters,” I could have at least picked one with black hair so it looked more “natural.” I should have worn blue contacts — but if I had, it would have looked ghetto. Because I am black.

The depths that the insults sink to are enough to scare many interested cosplayers away from even trying. I had an indian friend who refused to cosplay anything other than Indian characters after watching the way people tore into my costumes online.

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Female Captain America did not come to the future to deal with your racist MALARKEY.

When called on it, most will say that it’s an “accuracy” thing, that in order to “look better” it’s best to stick to characters “in your range,” which is a popular rationalization for shutting down plus-size cosplayers as well.

Characters in my range? Comic book heroines and anime characters are typically about 6 feet tall, have basketballs for boobs and probably weigh around 110 pounds. They’re not in anybody’s range. Let’s be real, here — we are grown men and women pouring all of our disposable income into dressing up as cartoon characters on the weekend. It is not that serious.

I’m aware that to actively engage yourself in such a visual hobby as cosplay, you have to have a thick skin — and I do. I’m cool with people criticizing my choice in fabrics, choice in wigs, choice of pose, whatever. But my skin color is something I can’t change, nor would I if I had the ability. I love the skin I was born in, and I won’t apologize, make excuses or work around it for anyone’s benefit beyond my own.

One of my good friends (and cosplay idols) does a killer Wonder Woman and Batgirl where she prominently features her natural hair almost as a centerpiece. Seriously, a Wonder Woman and a Batgirl rocking a full head of gorgeous, natural curls. Who could be mad at that?

More people than you’d think. The characters might not be real, but the racism is.

image

This dress cost me three months and almost all of my sanity…but I got to be a Disney Princess!

I’m thankful that the black cosplay community has encouraging blogs like Cosplaying While Black and World of Black Heroes, so now anyone who might be curious about joining in won’t have to worry about feeling out of place, and will also have a reference to see how certain colors, styles and characters look when portrayed by someone who shares similar features.

We have celebrity support as well – Gail Simone, the current writer of DC’s Batgirl has given her stamp of approval to cosplayers of color time and time again — she even told me she liked my Batgirl on Halloween! (And if Gail Simone likes what you’re doing, then everyone else can take a step to the left because GAIL SIMONE.)

And on the flip side, I have no problem with lighter-skinned people doing darker-skinned characters, either. One of the best Storm cosplayers I’ve seen was a white woman, and I referred to her costume on the regular when I was working on my own.

I think that at the very heart of cosplay is the love for a character, and the desire to bring that character to life. That’s what it should be about.

As female cosplayers, we have enough to deal with (like making sure that people know that our costumes aren’t a permission slip and being accused of being “fake geek girls”) without being divisive amongst ourselves, so can we stop being unnecessary and just encourage each other? And share tutorials?

Because I’m always looking for some good tutorials.

 

This post originally appeared on XOJane. Republished with permission. Click here for more Chaka Cumberbatch
on XOJane! 

  • Deb

    The depth of foolishness, hatred and desire for superiority in most humans makes me ashamed to be a part of the human race sometimes. And most don’t want to change because it would be too much damn WORK and they’d have to face themselves and the damaged society tha they have allowed to mold them. That’s all i’ll say about the senseless controversy regarding reactions to black cosplayers.

    I’d rather focus on you and other black (and POC because I know as a whole there are so few), PLEASE KEEP DOING WHAT YOU LOVE. I think it’s awesome and as you are out there having fun, you are combatting narrow definitions of POC, especially black people. I’m not into cosplaying or anime but I’m digging those tumblrs. You all look awesome and no matter what the cowardly fools say, DONT LET THEM INTIMIDATE YOU, (i hope your indian friend gets guts the to do what he/she has every damn RIGHT to do) keep ya heads up because you know if you are creating ripples in a racist, prejudiced forum, you’re doing something right by challenge their skewed, delusional views. You all look awesome!

  • Eyes Wide Shut

    You go girl with your Sailor Venus bad self!

    I’m a Sailor Pluto/Sailor Saturn fangirl till the end!

    But in all seriousness,do what makes you happy. I always admired cosplayers for their ingenuity with costumes.

    More power to you!

    Eyes Wide Shut

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/POCBeauty/ KissOfDanger

    And let the church say Amen! I am not a cos-player but I have seen many vile, and racist trolls who put down black cos-players. These are the same people who justify the white washing of people of color like The Last Airbender.

  • http://elegantblackwoman.blogspot.com Elegance

    Geez people are so racist sometimes! Who cares about the skin colour! I think that the complainers must really not have lives and are a bit too obsessed with these characters. It’s supposed to be fun and not that serious. You have to wonder about those who are so serious about it that they would exclude people because they don’t look exactly like CARTOON CHARACTERS!

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/POCBeauty/ KissOfDanger

    Hey did you hear about the new re-vamped Sailor Moon Anime that is due this summer!? Shoot I might dress like Sailor Pluto myself.

    *Pluto Planet Power Make-Up!*

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  • Pseudonym

    Well, you look amazing/adorable/fabulous.

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    fwiw, I like your costumes (:

  • Sasha

    These are the same kind of people who will sport Black face to play some character, get mad when someone blasts them for their stupidtity and turn around trying to justify their actions saying they wanted to “capture the true character” while crying “reverse racism”. I do not cosplay at all or am big into anime but I recognized her outfits immediately didn’t think “oh hey look, Black Sailor Moon”, I thought “her Sailor Moon outfit is so cute”. Some people are so disgusting and should be removed from life.

  • Fiore Scott

    Say what?!!?! Say it ain’t so? Or is? My feels are all over the place!! Sailor Moon was my first anime and still in my top!

    I wish there was more information than this…http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/news/2012-07-06/sailor-moon-manga-gets-new-anime-in-summer-2013

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  • http://gravatar.com/missinformation7 Ms. Information

    Too cute and cool….I always did want to be some random character from Lord of the RIngs….but the Shire has no blacks..lol

  • Eyes Wide Shut

    Shut yo mouth KOD!!!

    I need to hit up Chinatown to get me my fansubs if this is true!

    I have been waiting for Naoko Takeuchi to do like a “10 yrs later” follow-up to this.

    ::Runs in closet and gets out Silence Glaive and red stiletto Sailor Mars pumps::

  • seriously?

    As a animemmanga fan and a fat black girl I know what the racist side of “fandoms” feel towards poc cosplays, especially dark skin cosplays-I love the writer’s costumes though, funny i dont really care for the princess Tiana xD
    But yeah I’m glad she and a whole lewd of others is able to have the confidence to do them and looking good doing it too! Makes up for people like me who will always want but never do<3

  • seriously?

    Enter your comment here…
    As a animemmanga fan and a fat black girl I know what the racist side of “fandoms” feel towards poc cosplays, especially dark skin cosplays-I love the writer’s costumes though, funny i dont really care for the princess Tiana xD
    But yeah I’m glad she and a whole lewd of others is able to have the confidence to do them and looking good doing it too! Makes up for people like me who will always want but never do<3As a animemmanga fan and a fat black girl I know what the racist side of "fandoms" feel towards poc cosplays, especially dark skin cosplays-I love the writer's costumes though, funny i dont really care for the princess Tiana xD
    But yeah I'm glad she and a whole lewd of others is able to have the confidence to do them and looking good doing it too! Makes up for people like me who will always want but never do<3

  • http://gravatar.com/jamesfrmphilly jamesfrmphilly

    i stopped paying attention to what white people say a long time ago.
    i advise you to do the same. you too cute to be wasting your sweet time on that sickness. just do YOU.

  • AJW

    OMG!! A new Sailor Moon cartoon! I absolutely love that show ( and Naruto ).

    I think her costumes look great. She looks great and shouldn’t give a darn about those negative people. I remember being called weird for loving anime and crazy colorful DIY nails and now it’s all the rage.

  • Wow

    Amen Brother!

  • kitty

    The good side of me says: don’t let those racists put you down. You look fabulous and keep doing your thing! The bad side of me says: if those racists are so concerned with race, maybe its time to start a “white face” trend… You know, like “reverse Black face”…show them how ridiculous we Black can make them look! Just cuz Japs have issues with their looks (notice how those japanese animes always have “white” heros and the Asian characters always look goofy and clumsy in their servitude of the white “heros”?) But that’s the angry side of me speaking… Keep up the good work!!

  • Winn

    I’m not a cosplayer, but I’ve been in sci-fi, fantasy and horror fandom for many years. The climate has improved at cons and festivals, but the internet is a whole ‘nother thing. All I can say is your article gives me hope, and I salute you for your bravery, strong sense of self, and determination to do and be you. You look awesome, by the way. Keep blazing the trail for the poc cosplayers to come, or whatever the next manifestation of fandom turns out to be.

  • apple

    sucks how racist subcultures can be, the people always talking about acceptance

  • kami

    SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!! AND THE BACK!!!

    Didn’t know there were so many of us!!! ^_^

    I’m a big Sailor Moon/Sailor Mini-Moon fan, like, BIG.

    So I shall be getting the suit, and shall be cosplaying my butt off as I watch the re vamped Sailor Moon this summer. HOLLAAAA

  • http://gravatar.com/deniserena so what?

    OMG You look so cute. I’m a Sailor Moon fanatic myself.

  • Kam

    Lol, some of these White cosplayers have their heads so far up their asses since they themselves are playing Asian characters. You should see them on those Youtube videos made by an Asian that state that White people shouldn’t cosplay.

  • Blue

    Those are some hurtful comments. Mind you those people say those harsh things behind the safety of a computer & not to your face. Cowards….. Keep doing your thing & have fun. The costumes look great btw

  • THE RAVENS ARE SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS

    “you too cute to be wasting your sweet time on that sickness. just do YOU.”

    What is the relationship between her appearance and how she spends her time?

    No matter what a woman does, her appearance enters the conversation, even when it has no significance to the subject. Why?

  • ankhyora

    don’t pay attention to what people says, you are gorgeous do what you like to do!!!

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    Right! Like A) it is NOT that serious and B) it is a freaking character/fan fiction you don’t have to look exactly like the characters to like them and dress up as them. Going to find my Sailor Mercury costume…lol. Don’t let other people’s ignorance faze you because you look AMAZING and love that Captain America costume. I find it funny that these nonblack cos-players have the nerve to be racist but in every day society most people (especially other white people) view THEM as losers…like way to continue the typecasting there people… I would think you would WANT to form a bound and connection to other people who shares your hobbies and views regardless of their skin color but…sighs…I think I may be asking to much.

  • omfg

    she’s pretty. don’t pay attention to the haters.

  • mikey kun

    OMG I was a big sailor moon fan and Sailor V was my favorite as well.(Just had to get that out of the way)

    As a fan of anime and japanese culture this is nop the first time I hearing out this.It’s really sad and dumb, it’s already hard to find many anime/manga characters of color in the first place, but for a bunch of white otukus to tell another anime fan who they can and can’t cosplay is dishearting.

  • http://twitter.com/Twitlessbastard Mr. Coolbeans! (@Twitlessbastard)

    Fuck’em, u look sexy in them costumes….. Coolbeans!

  • Common Sense

    *sigh* white people…

  • Tallulah Belle

    You have a terrific figure for the costumes and you look too cute and very happy! Go on with your bad self…

  • JRW

    GIRL U LOOK GOOD!!!!!!!! i LOVED salior V she was my fav, after mercury of course ….. i’d also like to point out that most cos players are white males….. who usually cant within a foot of vagina w/o getting punched in the face for various reasons so they usually tend to be sexist along with that white superiority complex thing they have going on. white ppl dont like when blk ppl get into “their” hobbies ( tiger woods and golf or Venus Williams in tennis) i’m happy to see u kept ur head up and kept right on trucking!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.kalvin.3 Mark Kalvin

    Considering the gigantic ludicrousness of the Japanese racial self-image that is expressed in Manga and Anime (blue-eyes, brown/blonde hair, long, sharp noses, huge stature, bulging muscles), the idea of race-bending offending a cosplayed is just a *redefinition* of silly.

  • Tammi

    It makes me really sad and angry that you’ve gotten so many terrible racist comments on your cosplays, people are terrible ): Your Sailor Venus cosplay is one of my all time favorites, I’m stunned whenever I see it!

  • Fii

    I’d like to get into lolita some time in the near future. I haven’t before because I couldn’t finance it. But in the mean while I did lots of research and found there’s the same reaction between black lolitas and black cosplayers. I’ve seen the comments suggesting black lolitas look ghetto or ratchet, while white or Asian lolitas are supposedly all beautiful (that couldn’t be farthest from the truth!) You absolutely killed all those cosplay looks, especially Captain America. It’s sad that people even have to pave the way so hopefully others don’t have deal with such nonsense in the future. But you do it with grace and style. Play on :)

  • Wong Chia Chi

    @ THE RAVENS ARE SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS

    I’m fairly certain James from Philly meant his post as a compliment and….Did you even read the post?

  • http://gravatar.com/heavenleiblu heavenleiblu

    I hope I can catch up with you at the Next Dragon*Con…probably too short notice to hope to see you at the next OnyxCon. Play on, sis.

  • PieBandit

    The first thing I thought when I saw the Sailor V pic wasn’t about your skin colour, it was ‘damn, she has the legs for it!’

  • http://deckedingreen.tumblr.com M.Shell

    Very good article! I wish Clutch would have more articles that talked about the black nerd girl sub-culture. I remember the last con that I attended they actually had a couple of panels that not only talked about racism but size discrimination that happens at these conventions. There was even a girl who talked about how much time and work she put into creating her costume, but didn’t get as much praise or recognition as her white counterparts.
    All I gotta say is keep doing what you are doing. You’re a very beautiful person so don’t let those “naysayers” bring you down.

  • Sandra

    This is the saddest shit I’ve read in a long time, I really thought… I dunno. That people were more intelligent than this. Your Capt. A is just awesome, and there is nothing more to it.

  • Mira

    You are the girl with the amazing legs! I see your picture time and time again especially on 4chan and especially whenever ‘those’ debates come up. And I just want you to know, time and time again whenever those threads come up, I’m defending you and your choice to cosplay while black. Keep doing what you do you beautiful woman, you inspire the hell out of the rest of us.

  • Polygon

    I bet half of the white people criticizing you have cosplayed Asian characters themselves.
    Your legs are (seriously) killing it and your Sailor Venus pumps are to die for. They wish they looked as good.

  • Anthony

    Just like a woman should always be prepared for sexism when dealing with men, a black person should always be prepared for racism when dealings with non-blacks. Being cute or quirky does not mean that someone is open minded when it comes to race. Often such a person will resent a black person daring to tread in their special space!

  • Miranda

    Color, size or gender should not have an impact when it comes to cosplay. It’s inside that makes a real cospleyer, not the outside. If we all had looked alike, it had been insanely boring to gone on cons.

    Continue the good work. You are amazing! <3

  • http://gravatar.com/ohmrsun Tiffany

    i’ve seen your picture floating around before, but i never knew it was the face of xojane. you are amazing and brave and beautiful inside and out. just keep on doing your thing. racists will never be able to appreciate how beautiful the world is and that is just their own damn fault.

  • Katrina

    You are amazing for this article. This goes without saying but Anime’s are from Japan. So wouldn’t that make everyone who’s not Japanese out of most character’s range?

  • chanela17

    EXACTLY! wtf they have no room to talk. the characters are usually asian. smh

    i see cosplay pictures all the time of my favorite character from the game “phoenix wright” her name is lotta heart and she has a fro. nobody says shit about that! smh

  • chanela17

    then on TOP of that, going to visit japan is a whole nother can of worms when it comes to white people being more acceptable. i’ve heard horror stories of black people who are into japanese culture going to japan and getting their feelings hurt when they see that a lot of the people from japan are very prejudice (due to living in a homogenous society).

    they loveee them some white people though. they even have a company in japan that hires random white men to sit at board meetings so that the meeting could look more professional. it could be regular average bum ass white men, but because they’re white then that automatically makes them seem important. smh

    black folks on the other hand get laughed at and humiliated in the streets.

    so depressing!

  • Cindy Ridgway

    Irony-most anime is of Japanese guys and a few busty Japanese girls. Not white people so why whites who play Japanese characters have NO room to put you down. Your pix are CUTE. So if your white and doing characters from Bleach… Again you look great please don’t stop posting cute pix…

  • Duffgirl

    People, as ever, are ridiculous jerks. You knocked those costumes right out of the park (your costumes are spot on and I didn’t even KNOW that real-life people could have legs like the Sailor Scouts).

    If people of color were limited to characters of color to cosplay, they’d have nowhere near the range of characters white people have because they have much less representation in the media. Racist people are too ignorant and compassion-less to realize that for people to cosplay characters they like, they often have to cosplay white characters by default, and it’s something they need to get less ignorant about quicksharp.

    Keep on keepin’ on. I know you do this for yourself, since it’s fun, but please know that there are other people that appreciate your skill with your costumes because it’s just straight-up fantastic. You’re just a good cosplayer, plain and simple, and people are jerks for treating you any other way.

  • http://gravatar.com/electrakitty Sarah

    You are simply stunning. Screw those haters! Keep doing what you love!

  • Duffgirl

    All black people know they have to be prepared for it, given the countries many of them live in.

    But they shouldn’t have to be. The people who resent it and have issues over black people up in their space need to get the eff over it. Because all it is is having PEOPLE in their space. People just like them.

    “You should be prepared for rcism” is a cop out. “The racist people should knock it the heck off with the racism” is the fundamental moral truth at the core of issues like this.

    And the only way it’ll stop happening is if people stop excusing it as just the way it is.

  • http://gravatar.com/theogk Kelly Hawkins

    I used to go to Anime Expo with my sisters and we would have definitely taken a picture with Black Sailor Venus! It’s always good to see people who look like you representing in a sub-culture that you relate to. These people expect folks like us to go to these conventions spending hella time and money to only respect the White cosplayers? Not happening. And yes, your legs are fabulous!

  • chinaza

    Very interesting article. Something different which taught me something new. Keep going!

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/POCBeauty/ KissOfDanger

    Well you’ll be very happy this summer. Sailor Moon is coming back.

  • https://www.facebook.com/groups/POCBeauty/ KissOfDanger

    Girl didn’t you get the message? The Japanese worship white people. Anime characters are white.

  • Kay

    I love cosplay but haven’t gotten into for the various reasons mentioned in this article. There’s something about the almost cult-like followings of fantasy, be it online or in person that tends to bring out all the nasty privilege wielding douches to the fore. Oh, you’re writing a fantasy novel based on a steampunk concept? And the character’s BLACK?! How dare you seek to be inclusive in a fantasy arena that doesn’t really exist and where anything and everything goes!! How. Dare. You!!! You were really down for Idris Elba to play Heimdall in Thor? Well, that’s just ridiculous!!! Everyone knows that the Norse gods who supposedly created everyone on earth and who no one has ever seen were White guys. I mean, that’s like–natural! Don’t even let me get started on the debacle that was “Airbender.” I didn’t get the memo that it’s totally okay to whitewash ethnic characters but never, EVER, should it be the other way around.

    You gotta love racism. You’re not even safe from it in a fantasy world. *sigh*

  • http://www.facebook.com/Green.bunnyhats Bunny Greene

    I love you and you are awesome <3 You really rock it! Cosplay transcends gender and race, it's all about the love of the character.

  • Julie

    Love. That’s all I have to say. Just so much love.

  • http://www.facebook.com/ruth.dubb Ruth Dubb

    You look absolutely amazing as Captain America and I am not even into cosplay!

  • Anthony

    I am not excusing racism or sexism. I think the author is doing a great job by not letting racists stop her.

    All I say is that we should never let our guards down for our own well being.

  • d

    This is such an inspiring article! I had never heard of a Cosplayer until now, you look fab in those costumes. Sorry that you have to deal with the idiotic bigots and naysayers in the fantasy world. On a more positive note you’ve gained a fan and a desire to own that hot Captain America outfit! Keep it up!

  • dirtychai

    I’m actually in a group for black women who love sci-fi and there are some women there who are into cosplay. I think it’s interesting.

  • http://twitter.com/hellokaylie HelloKaylie (@hellokaylie)

    You go, girl. Your cosplay is way better than most people I know have ever done, so those haters can go screw themselves. Almost no one looks like the character they’re cosplaying, anyway (cept angel-faced, androgynous Japanese cosplayers) and your skin is beautiful and you’ve got a great body. If I had your skin and your legs, I’d never put them away. Skirts and shorts every day of the year! Do what you love and shame on those racist losers!

  • Wong Chia Chi

    lmaooed at this so hard I choked on my drink.

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.m.jones.3 Richard Alan Jones

    The costume thing was weird enough….

    But… I guess the brothas and sistas can be over-the-top nerds as well….

  • Bekee

    It’s only ever white people who who say things like “We’re all equaaallll!!!” when told they’re disrespecting a culture, then when Women of Colour do something so freaking not relevant to anything the white girls complain about it. Because equality only works if you’re up to their standard. Makes me so mad, and I am so white I glow in the sun. Keep doing what you’re doing, you are beautiful, not “for a black girl” but because you ARE BEAUTIFUL. (You’re a woman, of course you are beautiful. Women are like unicorns.) You aren’t “brave” for doing this, like other people have said (brave?) you’re just being yourself, and everyone deserves to do that. Don’t like the bastards bring you down!!

  • Andrea

    I love it!!! I’ve always wanted to go to Comic Con dressed as Michonne from The Walking Dead or Erza from Fairy Tails. Hell I just might do it!!! I love that you aren’t afraid to be who you are regardless of how anyone else feels about it. I love anime, comics, all things zombies, and cosplay, and I know plenty of black girls who do also.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brand.on.grin Brand On

    XOJane You are gorgeous and your cosplays are awesome and well crafted. Also it’s bad ass that you aren’t letting idiots discourage you from doing it! Keep creating and I for one will keep appreciating.

  • http://gravatar.com/arlette81 arlette

    shut up…

  • http://gravatar.com/pyrokitten pyrokitten

    I think you look absolutely STUNNING!!!

  • inoffensive

    I don’t think that first tumblr poster meant that his/her standards were lower for you or anything like that. He even said he/she wasn’t trying to be racist. What he/she meant was that Sailor Moon is, well, white, so of course it’s impossible for you to cosplay her COMPLETELY accurately unless you, idk, talcum powder your entire body or something. So for a black cosplayer, not to be racist, you did an awesome job.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamel.fleming Jamel HsienJo Fleming

    Yo I’m proud that you didn’t let that stop you. I’m a black male that has been a very hype Anime/Videogame fan since I was small. The first cosplay I ever did was a male version of Hsien-ko from the game series Darkstalkers. Even though Hsien-ko is a female Chinese Vampire aka Jiang shi and I am a large Black man, I made it work for me with a unique design, because she was my Fav character of all time. As you stated, thats all it comes down too is how much love, hype, and enthusiasm you have for your fandom and characters.

    In the end your doing this for yourself and your friends that love to see what you will come up with next. Your going to continue to do what you love anyway so you gotta keep treating the negative bs on the internet like the buzzing of flies. Its a lil annoying but that aint gonna stop you.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jamel.fleming Jamel HsienJo Fleming

    It goes without saying, But those Cosplays of yours are THE BEST~

  • EST. 1986

    How does it being ‘meant’ as a ‘compliment’ answer my questions?

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  • Daijana

    I must commend you for this! Honestly, I love manga’s, anime, and games but it was always considered weird or out of place because I’m a black girl and I’m not suppose to have those kinds of interests. I’ve known of comic cons and it’s been a secret dream of mine to dress up for them, but in the depths of my mind I know people will criticize me because I’ll most likely be portraying a light skinned character (which sucks because I love this stuff just as much if not more than them). I realize now that shouldn’t be what stops me from doing something that will make ME happy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/robololi Johanna Lee Murazzo

    Sailor Moon is JAPANESE and this is Sailor Venus, thanks.

  • krazikeo

    Wow you sound exactly like me :)
    I’ve ALWAYS wanted to cosplay and I’ve always wanted to go to comic cons. I live in NY and I know if I go to a comic con cosplaying, I will be criticized by not only friends and family, but people at the con as well, and if I cosplayed I’d cosplay as a light character as well so it’s always made me extremely nervous. Just like you I’ve decided not to let that stop me and to do what I want if it’s what I love.

  • http://annyongandtherestless.blogspot.kr Jase

    I just wanted to say that I love your tone and sense of self that totally shines through in this article. You’re fantastically gorgeous as well, but perhaps that’s beside the point! Inspiring human being for sure :)

  • soul

    I agree with not being brave, and being herself though cosplay. But she is totally brave for continuing after all this hate was unleashed in her life. I would have tried to slowly disappear from the world.

  • http://melodygordon.wordpress.com melodygordon

    This is a much debated subject that I won’t get into with the same intensity as seen on xoJane, but by and large many characters in anime and mangas are Japanese, not white. For example, the names of all the Sailor Senshi are Japanese (and characters like Rei have distinctly Japanese histories/cultural attachments). White and/or American characters have very Americanized names. When white characters appear in many mangas and TV shows they’re often times portrayed as either crazy tan or crazy pale with big noses and bigger eyes.

    In Western culture when it comes to fiction, white people automatically default all non-brown skinned persons to be white. And some just chose to ignore a character’s race altogether (IE: the racist Hunger Games drama). Whereas in Japan where the population is like 99% Japanese, they automatically default all persons to be Japanese. IN SHORT: White people are extra wrong. By their definitions of who should be allowed to cosplay, even they would be excluded because almost all anime and manga characters were originally written as JAPANESE folks.

  • MommieDearest

    All this time and I never knew the what the proper name was for people dressing up like cartoon characters. Thanks for enlightening me.

    BTW, the author of this article is pretty as can be. Those folks talking siht are probably just jealous.

  • Kate

    Perfect cosplay costumes are perfect…as is the perfect person wearing them. Don’t let ANYONE tell you that you didn’t wear the crap out of those costumes…you look amazing. All those people who said or implied anything different? Are WRONG! It doesn’t matter what you look like before you put the costume on, the question is “Do I know who you are, AFTER you put it on.” I don’t care what you look like before…you didn’t look like a character from Sailor Moon. Nobody does…that’s why it’s cosplay people…we’re dressing up as people we don’t look like.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mic.theory Mic Theory

    You rule they are just jealous!

  • Cybervox

    My first thoughts looking at these pics? Awesome costumes! I don’t care what colour you are, you rock those outfits :)

  • Gemma

    It’s unbearable to hear that you’ve had to deal with this crap. I hate the elitist cosplay snobs in the community at the best of times, but the racism is just beyond disgusting. Your cosplay rocks.

  • Brian Braddock

    You’re an amazing Captain America.

  • Ren

    I don’t care about skin colour, size or anything. I am on the bigger side myself but I am not going to just find fat characters to cosplay, although at the same time, I would like to do Snorlax one day for a laugh =’3 I think the cosplays I see here are amazing and wish I could just make my own as accurate as them.

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