Cosplaying While Black: Tips, Tales, And Inspiration
This is a re-post of an article that was originally published in Make magazine: https://makezine.com/2020/06/19/cosplaying-while-black-tips-tales-and-inspiration/
If you aren’t familiar with Make, we highly recommend that you check out both the website and the print magazine. They cover categories from cosplay to DIY Deathstar replicas and everything in-between. If you love making stuff and learning new skills it will quickly become one of your favorite sites.
Nerd Mimi the Nerd (@mimithenerd) is a makeup artist, cosplayer, writer, horror and anime lover, and mental health advocate in England, U.K. and the author of the article.
She discusses how to get into Cosplay without much effort or budget, as well as challenges that she has faced as a black cosplayer. Below are some excerpts from her post:
Want to join the cosplay community but don’t know where to start? It can all seem really overwhelming, but I’m here to tell you there’s no need to panic.
My first tip is always to start small and use what you have: this is called wardrobe cosplay. For example, my Spinelli cosplay from Recess required only a leather jacket, red shirt, and an orange hat. The only thing I had to purchase was the orange hat which cost less than 5 quid ($6.50). And my Numbuh 3 from Codename: Kids Next Door required only a green jumper and straight black wig with bangs, which I already had. To be a “cosplayer” you don’t have to become the characters with super complex costumes. Every costume is valid, whether it’s bought or made.
We also have extremely low budget ways to get started experimenting with different fabrics. Checkout our clearance section where you can buy scrap latex or vinyl for over 75% off what you would pay retail. You can also find pre-cut samples of our latex lace for about 50% off retail. Expect to see some clearance leather hides in the next month or two as well.
Mimi also talks about some of the challenges she has experienced as a black cosplayer:
The lack of ethnic diversity in the cosplay industry stems from a shortage of Black people playing these characters in the original manga, shows, and films. Many Black cosplay artists would agree there’s a lack of representation and a stigma within the cosplay community for people of color. There is still a lot of racism, and Black cosplayers are usually the target.
She finishes her article by talking about how Cosplay has improved her self-confidence and how much joy she has found from dressing up and engaging with the Cosplay community. Mimi highlights some of her “Melanated” Nerds and below are also some of our favorite pics: