Walking into many anime conventions in the past few years, we have noticed a significant increase in the diversity of panels. I believe that this positive change is a great development within the anime community. As diverse as this community is, we must continue to embrace and learn about the various backgrounds that converge at events like Anime NYC. I wanted to write about this panel, “Kinks and Curls,” was hosted by a group of Black Content Creators who aimed to share their experiences with cosplaying within the anime community.Read more: Anime NYC 2022: Kinks & Curls Panel
Throughout the panel, each creator shared their personal experiences within the anime community. One recurring theme that emerged was the racism they encountered simply for dressing as their favorite anime characters. They recounted instances of racist comments under their posts and people approaching them to criticize their choice of character, asserting that the character shouldn’t be portrayed as Black. I find it truly disheartening that individuals face such absurd experiences while engaging in a hobby that brings them joy.
This panel has opened my eyes to more experiences that Black people go through in various aspects of life. While I was aware of the existence of racism, I was unaware of its severity within the anime community. It is distressing to learn that even in a community that celebrates diversity and being different, racism is still a troubling issue. Wearing their natural hair while cosplaying invites comments such as, “You could have cosplayed a Black character instead of this one,” or “You’ve ruined this character by cosplaying them as Black with that hair.”
The Black Cosplayer experience is unique, with challenges similar to those encountered in daily life. This is an aspect emphasized during the panel that I felt needed to be highlighted here. In a time where acknowledging and embracing differences among people should not be a major concern, especially when engaging in an activity like cosplaying. It is disheartening to see the common rebuttal: “If I paint my skin black to cosplay a Black character, then it’s a problem.” In reality, this is a significant problem, as it is referred to as Blackface and carries a deeply racist history. Why would you want to disrespect anyone with your cosplay?
Everyone should be free to cosplay any character without offending or disrespecting anyone. This concept is straightforward, and it is puzzling to me why combating racism within the anime community remains an ongoing issue. Just like the broader political issues in America, dismantling this problem is a collective responsibility that we all must contribute to.
In conclusion, I wanted to write about this panel and the important experiences shared during it because it’s a topic that isn’t discussed enough, and it deserves more attention. I believe many individuals within the community may not be aware of what’s happening in other parts of the community, either by choice or because they are not part of circles where such conversations occur. It’s not a matter of blaming anyone for their lack of awareness; it merely indicates how privilege operates and how some people are not afforded the same privileges.
Thank You for taking the time to read this blog post! ❤
If you have anything to add to this conversation, Let’s continue it in the comments!