So here are a few highlights from the past few days:
- A couple of people approached me online saying they were glad that I spoke up because they were feeling the same way. Thank you so much!!! This really pleases me because it tells me that this community, while somewhat broad, really IS diverse, but it's not so easy to see that. Someone on my Facebook timeline pointed out that it may be the case that people with certain interests are afraid to come out because they think their interests are too obscure and not loved by many. But when more and more people start to think that, suddenly you have a whole silent group in the dark, not aware that the others exist! So me saying something really helped me to connect with some of you and I'm really glad.
- A friend pointed out to me her concerns that other POC minorities have trouble being in the community because, although it is the "POC Cosplayer Community," the population is heavily made up of black cosplayers, and many people interchange "POC" with "Black" (despite being biracial, I am guilty of making that mistake from time-to-time). It's also possible that other ethnicities may not feel the need to join the community because they don't really face the same issues as black cosplayers, so it leaves some members without the backing that they need to stay in the community, or to speak up. This is just another way in which I think that saying "POC cosplayers" may be too broad, or maybe we need to start creating sub-communities and consider POC to be an alliance of those subgroups. Do remember that 28DBC is about Black cosplayers, but also remember that "POC" doesn't only mean black, and we should be lifting them up as well.
- My thoughts on some of the events during 28DBC still stand. Chaka Cumberbatch, the founder of 28DBC, expressed this perfectly on Twitter. Media outlets unsurprisingly mess things up when they turn things into a contest by titling their articles "The Best of 28 Days of Black Cosplay" and showing off only the best photos, missing the point of the movement. Some people focus too much on "being featured." Remember that not being on Buzzfeed or HuffPo doesn't mean you've failed as a cosplayer. A handful of popular cosplayers, while they DO deserve recognition, sometimes get overexposed, leading to people not being able to find other cosplayers that they may be more interested in following. Thankfully, I found out that the POC Cosplayers Facebook page has been indexing all of the cosplayers of color that they could find! This is an amazing thing because not all black cosplayers participate in #28DaysofBlackCosplay or even know about it, so it can be hard to find certain pages. They are featured alphabetically; you can find the post where my page is listed here, but I highly encourage you to take some time to check out all of the other lists on their page and find some cosplayers that share your interests, or just follow all of them!
- Not totally related to POC or 28DBC but another concern: My growing dislike for wearing sexy costumes stems NOT from how popular other cosplayers are for doing it; more power to them for doing what they do! My dislike comes from my personal experience of objectification from viewers, and the fact that I struggle for recognition of things I do and say, which are more important to me than looking good in a costume. Once in a while I'll still wear these costumes because I like them and I like the character, but the unwanted looks gets to be too much. I can't stress this enough: Cosplay is very visual, but for some of us it's much more than that. That's why I included stories with each of my #28DaysofBlackCosplay photos on Instagram, and I didn't always use my best photos. Whether you liked my more revealing Sailor Starlights costume series, or my more "covered up" G-Dragon costumes, I hope you read the stories that accompanied the pictures. While cosplay for me used to just be about trying to make amazing costumes and photos for other people to see, in my heart I've always just wanted two things: friends with whom I can cosplay; and for people to hear what I have to say.
With all of that out, I hope everyone had a positive 28DBC experience this year! I wish I had been able to participate more, but Katsucon and other things really got in the way. I'll be thinking about some plans for next year! Much thanks to Chaka Cumberbatch AKA Princess Mentality Cosplay (follow her on Twitter and Facebook, I highly recommend!) for starting this movement and sharing some of my photos/stories. This movement means a lot to me as a cosplayer of color and because of my other friends who have worried about being "too dark" or "not attractive enough" to dress up as a certain character.