Sheek Magazine

Questions

Do you like to dress up?

That has always been my favorite part of Halloween. My parents didn’t let me go trick or treating like all the other kids because something something “Devil’s holiday…” They did let me wear a costume to school though and there was always fun had with teachers handing out candy. (On a similar note, they didn’t let me read “Harry Potter” and I’m actually not mad about it because as we know the author is a horrendous person and doesn’t deserve any of my money.)

When I was a kid, I’d usually dress up as a very general idea, like an angel or a fairy. As I’ve grown older, I fell into the world of conventions and cosplay. For years I’ve picked specific characters to portray and it’s truly one of my favorite hobbies. Even though the majority in the space is white, I found a community there and I see it growing more diverse as the years go on. 

Along with Uhura, *Storm, *Guinan, *Niobe (Upcoming for a new photo series I’m doing next month.)

I’ve cosplayed as characters who are:

What are your thoughts on dressing up as a SPECIFIC fictional character for Halloween or conventions?

Japanese (Momo &

White (The 11th & 13th Doctors, Sherlock, SheRa, Ms. Frizzle, Coraline)

Latinx (Carmen Sandiego)

So as you see, I’ve dressed up as many people outside of my ethnicity & gender. I do deeply love cosplay and find that it shows craftsmanship and creativity with the work people put into making costumes. 

I actually was concerned at first thinking I couldn’t participate because none of the anime characters looked like me. One of my theatre friends actually said to forget that and dress up like who I wanted to and to have fun. That made me feel so much better and that I had finally found a group who wouldn’t alienate me for being the “only Black one.”

There is still the question of appropriation that must be addressed. Emi @little_kotos_closet recently did a series on this very topic that I suggest you check out! She makes a point about the power white people possess and have used that to harm our communities with black/brown/yellow face and exotifying our cultures while simultaneously claiming to be the experts on them. But also how varying POC should be wary of the intention behind dressing up as a different culture. 

I am NOT a fan of vague costumes supposed to represent an entire culture (think a beanie with locs, sombrero, feather headband, etc.) These cheaply made items from the Halloween store continue to minimize people of color. We are more than these few “recognizable” items from the white gaze. 

For so long, white people have told us what we can and can’t do (let’s be honest, they still do) when it comes to expressing ourselves outside of their limited view of the stereotype. Who else was criticised for preferring rock and electronica throughout school because it wasn’t “expected” of a Black person? Or said that bright hair colors and makeup “didn’t suit us”?

Though my people do have a great deal more representation now in media, I find inspiring characters across so many ethnicities. As a Black person, I talk about that experience the most but that doesn’t mean I don’t believe in standing up for other communities of color at the same time. The intent behind cosplay is something I will need to think on further as I know a great deal more now about appropriation than I did a few years back.  

What are your thoughts on dressing up as a SPECIFIC fictional character for Halloween or conventions?

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