Highlights from February’s collection of community creativity.
Black History Month may be over, but that doesn’t mean that support for all kinds of black culture and art should drift from the public eye. The black cosplay community carved out a very special place during the month of February, using the hashtag #28daysofblackcosplay.
Created by Chaka Cumberbatch-Tinsley, this movement celebrates an amazing amount of jaw-droppingly talented creators that all post their work at once. The showcase was developed, in part, to combat racism that cosplayers of color often experience. Here are just a few of the creative takes on your favorite franchises and the cosplayer’s words on the games they love to cosplay from!
“As a child, I was a huge fan of Final Fantasy games, but also Disney movies. So I was immediately drawn to Kingdom Hearts. I loved the stories and worlds -they felt familiar, yet new. I loved how [Kingdom Hearts] saw people for who they are, and saw the good. They looked past physical appearances, connected with many hearts, and that became their strength. The characters weren’t perfect – many of them made mistakes and some were engulfed by their own dark thoughts. Yet they were able to overcome it and move forward. No matter how dark things got in their lives, they continued to smile and [have] hope. I found their strength inspiring.
What drew me to Kairi was her warmth and how much she valued the people in her life. She is kind, yet strong. She’s a light to the people around her and believes in her friends more than anything. Despite everything she’s been through, she chooses to keep smiling and fighting. And I think that’s amazing! Plus her outfits are very cute.”
K/D/A Akali (League of Legends) by FionaNova
“League of Legends pushed the boundaries with their K.DA spotlight, hitting a whole new audience with their k-pop single and bringing the gaming community, once again, to mainstream media. I just had to cosplay from it! Akali is one of my favorite-designed character, right next to Widowmaker in Overwatch. She is a bad-ass, and isn’t portrayed incredibly “girly” which is definitely a #mood for me and is why I relate to her so much. To see her as a rapper in the K.DA music video and be voiced by one of my favorite kpop female rappers made me even more excited to make her cosplay! The entire thing was screaming “THIS ONE’S FOR YOU, FIONA!”. I plan on cosplaying her original skin at some point, but her K.DA outfit was the perfect one to start with. I’m so happy with how it came out, I really put in a lot of attention to detail and wanted it to come out perfect. I don’t believe I hit the “perfect” mark yet, and will end up working more on it, but I think I was able to do it justice!”
Kasumi (Dead or Alive 5) by Izzy Saeko
“I have always been a huge fan of DoA ever since I saw the game on the Championship Gaming Series on SpikeTV. That show [was] the first time I was ever exposed to competitive gaming, aside from the grueling Marvel vs Capcom sessions I would have with my older cousin. Watching players like Offbeat Ninha, Vanessa, Perfect Legend and Master really inspired me to get out and start gaming at events more. I decided to cosplay Kasumi, even though my main was Helena, because I love her costume design. Dead or Alive was so well known in the fighting game community for its sex appeal, and that’s exactly what I wanted to bring to the table. I’m sad to know that this particular costume won’t be featured in DOA6, but my fingers are crossed for a DLC pack.”
Zero Suit Samus (Metroid/SSB) by Shellanin
“I’m cosplaying (Zero Suit) Samus from the Metroid Series! Samus Aran is an amazing protagonist. Discovering her female identity meant a lot to me as a child. From Metroid to Smash Bros, seeing her take down her opponents in both a full suit of armor as well as a bodysuit has been an amazing form of strong girl power representation for me! She was also one of my favorite characters to watch in SSB4 tournament, which is why I chose to cosplay her!”
“The thing I love most about Fortnite is the sense of community it has created with its release and rise in success. It’s been such a long time since I could play a video game with my friends that are considered to be more casual gamers (or not really gamers at all)… I choose to cosplay Calamity because the minute I saw her design with the release of season 6, I fell in love. She is one of the characters that you can level up over time so her design just gets cooler and cooler. I knew I would eventually want to cosplay all her levels, so I started with the first one. I am debuting my cosplay of her final level at Katsucon and I’m super excited!”
Christmas Menat (Street Fighter V) by Alliecat Cosplay
“I’ve always gravitated towards strong women in gaming. I was severely bullied in my younger years, but was too shy and kind-hearted to fight back. I looked up to characters like Chun-Li and Cammy in video games because they showed me that you could hold your ground against the most formidable of foes. Not once did I feel powerless while playing Street Fighter and always picking the girl. If anything, it gave me more drive that carried into my real life. I cosplayed Menat because when she was introduced it was SO inspiring to see not only a new strong woman introduced to the franchise, but she was a woman of color that had the most electric personality and unique move set. I was hooked immediately. I’m very happy that we’re starting to see more inclusivity in the games that shaped us as Gamers.”
Izzy Saeko is a New York based content creator and social media influencer, follow her on Twitter.