Black Lives Matter In Cosplay Too

The current movement, BLM, is so important that we must talk about it. So how does that apply to cosplay? Black cosplayers have existed as long as cosplay itself, but do we even know them? Their opinion? Now is the time for us to amplify the black voices in our community and uplift them so they can be heard. And not just for brownie points, but because we need to take the first step to truly care about our friends and our community.

List 5 cosplayers you admire. Go.

Can you do it? Are any of them black? I’m not going to pull out some bullshit statistic like “one in every 5 cosplayers is black” but I’m gonna hit you with this instead: if you follow cosplay but you can’t name a single black cosplayer, you might be a little bit racist.

Today I want to introduce to you Daniele Illuminated and Dizen Doll. You may recognize them from my last post but I’m not done simping them yet.

I followed Dani on social media and I am amazed by how much passion she has for the craft. It really shows in her numerous costumes and progress photos.

I’ve invited Diz to every single EGLX (Enthusiast Gaming Live Expo) I have ever worked on, and she is always a pleasure to work with. Diz also has her own Etsy store where she makes geek-inspired clothing and bags. Not only does she sew, she is also a lover of gyaru fashion!

Neither of them have a huge following, and honestly, that should change.

I asked both of them some questions about their experience in the cosplay world, and here’s what they said.

Have you faced discrimination in cosplay?

I receive hateful comments. Recently, it was more in regard to my Lili Rochefort cosplay as her character is caucasian in appearance. Things like, “You can’t handle the truth of what I want to say… Did you burn something?”,  “Oh, there is something off about it…”. The discrimination I face comes in the form of micro-agressions and can be hurtful. 

Daniele Illuminated

Some of my friends choose to cosplay non-black characters and were mocked for their skin tone. In the beginning I thought I was going to be harassed for those reasons too and I was hesitant to wear non-black characters. I had to stop myself and think, “why do I cosplay”? I cosplay for myself and to represent a character I love. No one can take that away from me.

Dizen Doll

Who are your favourite black cosplayers to follow?

Oh boy, did they give me a list.

What are your thoughts on cosplayers at BLM protests?

So for those of you who aren’t aware, I’m going to give you a little bit of a backstory. You know about the BLM protests that been happening all over North America, but did you know that sometimes cosplayers would show up in cosplay and take photos with the crowd?

Global News wrote an article about Spider-Man and Batman showing up to support anti-racist protests, but what they failed to report on was that some cosplayers were showing up in their own costumes to take photos as well.

I don’t want to call anybody out in particular, but they did post it on their social media…

I asked Dani and Diz what they thought about it, and they seem to echo my thoughts.

I saw some good intentions and some bad choices. I feel that anyone should be able to protest as long as they are being genuine. Don’t mock the movement.

Dizen Doll

I am very mixed on this one. Cosplay can bring confidence to those who struggle to show it and can also demonstrate a powerful vibe. Using super heroes, for example, can amplify visibility towards important issues and can influence others to learn or do more since it can be in relation to that characters original stance on certain topics. 

However, Cosplay can also take away from these things as well and can also be dangerous if worn in protest. The only thing I really want to say is: do what empowers you but don’t take away from what we are fighting for every day and think safely. 

Daniele Illuminated

The problem here that I see is that they’re taking away from the movement by trying to fix the spotlight on themselves, and trying to get attention. But the purpose of a protest isn’t to do that. It is to add your voice to the collective. Please, do not bring cosplay to a protest.

How can we change to be more inclusive in the cosplay community?

This one seems like a tough one but it really just boils down to not being an asshole. Remember that cosplayers are people too, and cosplay is a hobby.

It should start with cosplayers genuinely opened to supporting and networking with each other. Photographers can add to the movement by showcasing all types of cosplayers from all walks of life.

Dizen Doll

Dani puts it really simply:

Let people cosplay who they want in a creative but respectful manner.

Daniele Illuminated

Let’s preach love and acceptance, boys and girls.

See y’all next week.

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