in

#28DaysOfBlackCosplay at The Mary Sue, Day Twenty-Six

Ashley Mika (Afrogeek Cosplay) as Shang Tseng


Here’s to the fourth, and last, Friday in our #28DaysOfBlackCosplay showcase. It’s been an incredible month of creativity from everyone who’s participated, and I’m so glad I had the chance to do this series of features. Let’s check out today’s three cosplayers and get ready to enter into the last two features of the weekend.

 

Ashley Mika (Afrogeek Cosplay)

Ashley Mika (Afrogeek Cosplay) has been cosplaying for 13 years, inspired by a friend who told her she should cosplay when they attended her very first Otakon. You can check out her story below!

 

How do you decide what you’re going to cosplay?

We both decided on Kobato (we were watching it when it first aired). She had a lot of dresses/looks to pick from. I chose her blue dress and just ran with it.

What cosplay are you most proud of? And yes, it’s absolutely ok to say ALL.

It would have to be my Wakandan Storm. That was the first time I’ve ever done beadwork and it was a JOURNEY! The whole outfit was work, but it turned out so well. I’m in love!

Picture of Picture of Ashley Mika (Afrogeek Cosplay) as Wakandan Storm
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • reddit
  • Tumblr

What’s a cosplay moment that you remember fondly?

I remember cosplaying as the Batman Who Laughs and walking around. People assumed I was a dude which what I was hoping for. So when they would ask for a picture, I’d pose and all that. When they said “thanks” or “thanks man” I’d reply and their response to me being a girl was priceless!

Hey, it’s time to take a break from making that cosplay or buying it off your wishlist, what are you watching/playing/reading to unwind?

A lot of crime dramas and documentaries. Also wrestling. I’m SUPER into wrestling it’s nuts!

Speaking of unwinding, who are your comfort characters? Who are you going to when you need a pick me up?

In terms of anime? Black Jack or Ginko from Mushi-shi. They are always so mellow or in control of their feelings. It helps me recenter and just vibe.

If you could live in a fictional universe where would it be and why?

I think it would have to be in the Pokémon universe. I love Umbreon so much, I’d love to be a dark-type trainer. I would still question where beef, pork, and chicken come from but you know… whatever hahaha.

Do you tend to cosplay the character/creature/entity as is or do you put your own spin on them? Any particular reason why? And yes, it’s perfectly ok to say “because I like to.”

It’s a mix of both. Some characters I like to keep as is, like my Batman Who Laughs. He is terrifying and gory on his own. I have no desire to change his appearance or vibe. But with characters that I enjoy but are SUPER common like Sailor Moon or whatever, I HAVE to do something fun and extraordinary because the “as is” way is done and ran into the ground. So steampunk Sailor Pluto it is!

It’s cruel to ask what your favorite cosplay is so what are your top three (at most)? Are they the ones being featured or are they different ones?

My top 3 would have to be Baroness Samedi, Maleficent, and Storm. All are featured but my Baroness Samedi. That cosplay took the most work because of the detail I put into the accessories. I have this ghoul-soul orb that has like 13 marbles or so in it with faces on all sides. I cut out at least 60 pieces of ghoul faces, hand glued them to 13 marbles, placed them by hand in the glass orb, and mixed and poured the resin. The work itself took 2 days or so, but the outcome… WORTH IT! It looks like they’re trapped in magic and screaming to be free. I need to redo the outfit and take better pictures, but it’s top tier for real.

Picture of Ashley Mika (Afrogeek Cosplay) as Maleficent
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • reddit
  • Tumblr

Photographer: AshB Images

What do your 2021 cosplans look like? If you’re trying to keep it secret OR you have no plans, that’s fine!

I plan on getting back into prop making. I took a break in the fall of 2019 and been on hiatus ever since. My depression hit me and I took a break to get back to me. In that time I was reminded how much I missed working on massive builds for my cosplays. I’m in a better headspace so I’m full of so much creativity. No spoilers, but I’m making a cabinet backpack for my cosplay. That’s the hint.

In an alternate universe where money and resources are plentiful, all your bills are paid, and you’ve got nothing but time, what dream cosplays are you doing?

I wanna do a full-on Gundam cosplay! Lights and sound effects, moving parts, the whole jam. I remember seeing a mecha cosplay at my first big con and said “I wanna do that someday!” I also want to do a really dope armor build. I’m talking Kamui level build. I just need time and money baby!

In yet another alternate universe, conventions are safe to return to, so where are you headed?

Otakon. Otakon was my first con with my friends and it always has a space in my heart. I miss the smallest of things and the silly things about Otakon. I also used to booth and panel at Otakon via my job. Industry badges are GODLY!

What inspires you to stay active in the community, especially in these trying times? If you haven’t been active that’s fine, too!

My desire to help those starting out. When you really get into cosplay, specifically prop making, you realize how male it is. There aren’t too many women prop makers, and to niche it down there aren’t many visible Black woman prop makers whose names are in the same league as Punished Props, Kamui, and such. I want to change that. I wanna help be apart of the change to let the world know that Black woman are outchea being foam smiths or doing mold and resin builds. We exist and put respect on our names!

What does #28DaysOfBlackCosplay mean to you?

It means being seen. It means that for at least a month we’re going to be spamming the internet with our greatness. It means seeing new Black cosplayers and cheering for them. It means showing the newbies that they’re not alone and that we’re out here and we roll hella deep.

It’s March 1st, 2021, what would you like to see happen after the 28 days are over?

I would still like to see the flood of Black cosplayers being shared. Sometimes we do it and sometimes we just stop which is sad. 28 days isn’t enough to showcase everyone, we need to do it monthly. 365/366 days a year. There are new Black cosplayers debuting every day and we need to keep it going. We need to make us as normal as you see non-black cosplayers.

How can the community (people, events, etc.) do better to represent you and other Black cosplayers?

We could stop with the elitism. Who cares if someone chose a fabric you wouldn’t or their cosplay isn’t as polished, who gives a flying shit. They did it and it’s great! Who cares if they didn’t practice posing or they don’t know the character well. I didn’t learn about the Batman Who Laughs until the con. That’s when I discovered the comics and read the lore. You don’t have to be perfect in your cosplay to be recognized and loved on. You put on the outfit and showed up, that’s good enough.

Any tips for newcomers who are waffling on whether or not they should cosplay?

Just do it. You don’t need money or all the time in the world. Most of us don’t have that but we still get out there and do it. Do it for you and not for anyone else. You can find your community if you don’t have friends who cosplay or go to cons. If you love it, vibe. Whatever your reason is to cosplay, be honest and go for it. If you want clout, fine just be honest about it. If you want success and sponsorships, fine work hard and get that shit. Do it for you and no one else.

What are you looking forward to in 2021? It doesn’t have to be cosplay-related, it can be anything.

A vaccine. Also, I hope to buy my first home this year. If not buy one at least start the process so I can get on my way.

Social media time! Tell us where we can find you! Give me as many links as you want. Twitter? TikTok? Patreon? I want it all!

I’m on Instagram and Facebook. I also have a website!

 

Kurenai Kiba

Kurenai Kiba has been officially calling herself a cosplayer since 2010, but she’s been costuming for longer than that. “My family has a tradition, where once we’ve turned 18 our parents surprised us with a convention, and mine was an anime convention. When I stepped out of the car I accidentally stumbled in front of an Inuyasha cosplayer. That’s when everything clicked.” At that time, she’d been sewing normal clothes and doing small projects around the house, but the thought never occurred to her to incorporating her fandoms into her sewing projects. She’s been addicted ever since and you can check out her story below!

How do you decide what you’re going to cosplay?

Normally it’s a burst of obsession, a moment of excitement. Once I become completely bewitched with a character I know they’ve been added to my never-ending list of cosplays. I find myself researching useful background information about the character, breaking down the clothes they wear or designing my own based on their look, understanding what it will take to become this character, and it all starts when inspiration hits me.

What cosplay are you most proud of? And yes, it’s absolutely ok to say ALL.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love every single cosplay that I’ve created, but the one I’m still obsessed with has to be my Gastly cosplay from Pokémon. It took about 3 bolts of tulle to create the dress and the design was my own creation, pattern and all.

Kurenai Kiba cosplaying Ghastly from Pokemon
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • reddit
  • Tumblr

Photographer: AshB Images

What’s a cosplay moment that you remember fondly?

As I was cosplaying a weeping angel from the Doctor Who series, a Mom approached me. Her son was shy and hiding behind her leg as she asked me if he could take a picture with me. As he unwrapped himself from his mom I asked him if he enjoyed the episode I was cosplaying from, and that seemed to have opened the floodgates. He told me interesting facts about Doctor Who, how he and his family watches the show religiously, how I was his favorite villain of all time; it was amazing! He asked if I could pose with him in a way where it looked liked I was about to attack him and I obliged. We reluctantly parted ways, he was the first compliment I had the entire day.

Kurenai Kiba cosplaying a weeping angel from Doctor Who
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Pinterest
  • reddit
  • Tumblr

Photographer: M.G.Norris Photography

Hey, it’s time to take a break from making that cosplay or buying it off your wishlist, what are you watching/playing/reading to unwind?

If I’m unwinding at the end of the day, I’m either reading manga or play video games.

Speaking of unwinding, who are your comfort characters? Who are you going to when you need a pick me up?

100% Garnet from Steven Universe. I’ve never related more to a character before her.

If you could live in a fictional universe where would it be and why?

Pokémon, hands down! So many opportunities to discover new creatures and traveling to broaden one’s experiences.

Do you tend to cosplay the character/creature/entity as is or do you put your own spin on them? Any particular reason why? And yes, it’s perfectly ok to say “because I like to.”

This really depends on the character. I design clothes often from characters who are often non-humanoid or I do my best to make costumes comfortable and functional for wearing around for long periods of time. I like to recreate the character’s outfit as close as possible, but I find it fun to put your own spin on things as well!

It’s cruel to ask what your favorite cosplay is so what are your top three (at most)? Are they the ones being featured or are they different ones?

If I had to choose, my top three would be Gastly, Weeping Angel, and my Garnet cosplay.

What do your 2021 cosplans look like? If you’re trying to keep it secret OR you have no plans, that’s fine!

My list is pretty long, but I have a cosplay plan to incorporate more natural hairstyles in my cosplay this year while sharing more about my process in creating them.

In an alternate universe where money and resources are plentiful, all your bills are paid, and you’ve got nothing but time, what dream cosplays are you doing?

Dream cosplay? That’s easy. I would love to FINALLY cosplay the Pokémon Tentacreul, making sure it’s able to submerge in water. That one’s on the list this year.

In yet another alternate universe, conventions are safe to return to, so where are you headed?

I normally stick to the east coast, with the exception of a couple on the west, so I’m looking forward to going back to Katsucon.

What inspires you to stay active in the community, especially in these trying times? If you haven’t been active that’s fine, too!

Cosplaying is my creative outlet, so I truly enjoy both making and seeing these wonderful creations from all kinds of people in this community. It can be hard to create now more than ever with everything going on. I find it a relief, a small mental break from the difficult reality, participating in conversations and sharing our knowledge with one another. I just love it!

What does #28DaysOfBlackCosplay mean to you?

It’s so nice seeing such a large amount of Black people shown in such a positive light. Being a part of the minority, I’m so accustomed to seeing faces that don’t look like me flood my screens, but in February surfing the #28DaysOfBlackCosplay hashtag changes that. Not only does it show the world what we can do as cosplayers, but it gives those who were too frightened to get into cosplay encouragement to try this amazing hobby despite the criticisms and racism that comes with it.

It’s March 1st, 2021, what would you like to see happen after the 28 days are over?

I would like to see social media feeds become more naturally well-rounded instead of having to constantly trick the algorithm. Having more Black people naturally show up on my feed instead of having to search for them would be nice.

How can the community (people, events, etc.) do better to represent you and other Black cosplayers?

Acknowledgment and respect that no one is the same. We all come from different walks of life. It’s not about only seeing what makes us the same. It’s about embracing our differences and loving each other for them.

Any tips for newcomers who are waffling on whether or not they should cosplay?

You don’t need the opinion of naysayers. There is a difference between healthy criticism and those who are trying to influence you through negativity. Don’t let them get to you. They will always exist, so don’t let them stop you from creating.

What are you looking forward to in 2021? It doesn’t have to be cosplay-related, it can be anything.

Creating even more! I took a short break on creating cosplays for myself so I’m looking forward to getting back to that!

Social media time! Tell us where we can find you! Give me as many links as you want. Twitter? TikTok? Patreon? I want it all!

I’m on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, oh, and I have a website!

 

Akeelah Rawlins (Jevil)

Akeelah Rawlins (Jevil) has been cosplaying for 5 years, inspired by the fact that she’s always wanted to bring her favorite characters into reality. You can check out her story below!

How do you decide what you’re going to cosplay?

If there’s something that challenges my creativity and limitations, it makes me wanna say, “This is it!”

What cosplay are you most proud of? And yes, it’s absolutely ok to say ALL.

Hollow Marowak.

What’s a cosplay moment that you remember fondly?

Taking a selfie with Real Life Peter Griffin.

Hey, it’s time to take a break from making that cosplay or buying it off your wishlist, what are you watching/playing/reading to unwind?

Mainly Netflix anime and VRV.

Speaking of unwinding, who are your comfort characters? Who are you going to when you need a pick me up?

Reigen from Mob Psycho and Jevil from Deltarune.

If you could live in a fictional universe where would it be and why?

Pokémon to befriend Cinccino.

Do you tend to cosplay the character/creature/entity as is or do you put your own spin on them? Any particular reason why? And yes, it’s perfectly ok to say “because I like to.”

I tend to add a twist to it because I like to advance my level of creativity and be as unpredictable as possible.

It’s cruel to ask what your favorite cosplay is so what are your top three (at most)? Are they the ones being featured or are they different ones?

Hollow Marowak, Static Chu, and Jinx.

What do your 2021 cosplans look like? If you’re trying to keep it secret OR you have no plans, that’s fine!

My cosplans are to do Pokémon mashup for each generation and expand my genderbend cosplays more.

In an alternate universe where money and resources are plentiful, all your bills are paid, and you’ve got nothing but time, what dream cosplays are you doing?

Agunimon from Digimon.

In yet another alternate universe, conventions are safe to return to, so where are you headed?

Katsucon.

What inspires you to stay active in the community, especially in these trying times? If you haven’t been active that’s fine, too!

My friends and the new idol cosplayers who treat me with kindness and respect.

What does #28DaysOfBlackCosplay mean to you?

To help represent the unheard and the hard work of blerd cosplayers around the world.

It’s March 1st, 2021, what would you like to see happen after the 28 days are over?

Seeing more Black cosplayers being featured and talk about in more non-blerd pages and channels.

How can the community (people, events, etc.) do better to represent you and other Black cosplayers?

Build a strong friendship and respect each other’s work.

Any tips for newcomers who are waffling on whether or not they should cosplay?

Never limit your creativity. Try to reach higher, even if you fear failure or not finishing a cosplay. What matters more is that you try.

What are you looking forward to in 2021? It doesn’t have to be cosplay-related, it can be anything.

To become a Fire Safety Director before the end of the year

Social media time! Tell us where we can find you! Give me as many links as you want. Twitter? TikTok? Patreon? I want it all!

Everything can be found on my linktree right here!

See everyone for the rest of the weekend!

(Image: Ashley Mika (Afrogeek Cosplay), Kurenai Kiba, and Akeelah Rawlins (Jevil))

Want more stories like this? Become a subscriber and support the site!

 —The Mary Sue has a strict comment policy that forbids, but is not limited to, personal insults toward anyone, hate speech, and trolling.—

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]





Source link

Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings

Loading…

0

What do you think?

Is Coinbase Preparing To Launch Its Own Crypto Asset? New Document Hints at New Token

Is Coinbase Preparing To Launch Its Own Crypto Asset? New Document Hints at New Token

B2Broker on B2Core: How to Become a Market Leader in 2021

B2Broker on B2Core: How to Become a Market Leader in 2021