Comic books have always discussed social issues cloaked in amazing story telling and art. From pollution to race, government to addiction, readers are immersed in how characters act, and react, to social issues presented to them.
I recently came across the hashtag #28DaysofBlackCosplay on Twitter which, in honor of Black History Month, features black cosplayers.
After doing some research, I found the amazing Cosplayer Chaka Cumberbatch, who started #28DaysOfBlackCosplay. Cumberbatch was accosted on the internet after a picture of her dressed as Sailor Saturn from the anime show “Sailor Moon” made the internet rounds. You can check out the details of the situation at XOJane .
The issue: Cumberbatch is black, Sailor Saturn is not. If you love a character so much that you spend countless hours thinking up and executing a costume, dress up as whomever you like be it a different race, gender, or species.
Cumberbatch also has a Facebook page under her Cosplay name “Princess Mentality Cosplay” and I think she sums up pretty well why this movement is so important: “I think Black cosplay is important, because for every one of us out there in a costume, there are at least ten more sitting at home, afraid to hit the con floor for fear of drawing negative attention to themselves. The more we cosplay, the more we normalize it. The more people will get used to seeing us. The more comfortable we’ll become putting ourselves out there.” (Find the whole post here.)
Comic books explore a whole host of social issues and it is wonderful to see fans taking the reigns and bringing the discussion of race outside of the fictional realm of the books and into the world.
How can you empower your comic book readers?