For a lot of black and brown children growing up in the 90s, there were stereotypes of what they should and should not be into. For many, anime and comics was a secret love because they were something exclusively for white and Asian children to enjoyed. In the age of Facebook and social media for generations young and old, these stereotypes are slowly melting away. We are finding each other and discovering that our love for anime and cosplay are more common than we ever imagined. Youtubers and Instagram personalities like Supremedreams_1 and PrettyBrown&Nerdy are showing that anime fandom is colorless. Both at last year’s New York Comic Con and The 1st annual AnimeNYC convention, people of color (POC) were not only present but a more significant percentage of those who attended the events (exact numbers are not available). Two 1st time Convention attendees at AnimeNYC convention were both surprised and excited at the amount black and brown attendees. Many of the POC panels held at both conventions were full to capacity and had to turn people away. A Twitter campaigns started during New York Comic Con to make organizer aware that larger meeting spaces are needed for 2018.
Not only were people of color present at these conventions, they arrived in cosplay. I personally dressed as Sailormoon. The two first time attendees interview return on day two of the convention in Naruto cosplay, after seeing cosplayers on day one. Those new to cosplaying often feel boxed into cosplaying as the limited figures which look like them. However, for most fans of color, their love for a character or series has no color. Costumes at the conventions ranged from classic Black figures like Black Panther, Storm, and Static Shock to Wonder Women, Members of the DBZ Family, and part of the Straw Hat Pirate Crew.
As the world of anime spreads and the stereotypes around it melt away the number of people of color attending Conventions around the country will increase.
If you have never been to a convention or are afraid of what people will think of you or your cosplay don’t worry there is a community ready to support you.