On the inspiration to start doing cosplay and how identification with different characters feels:
I identify and relate to each character I cosplay. I am able to see myself in the character while also recognizing which characteristics in them I wish I had. It began as just fun for me; I simply enjoyed putting the costume together. Then I realized that there was a whole community and world surrounding cosplay. I also realized that if you are a person of color and don’t look like a character, some people really don’t want you to touch those characters. But we should be able to interpret characters the way we want, and people are able to realize that through cosplay. I have received so much love from others saying that I have inspired them to try cosplaying different characters, which has been such an inspiration for me. Having a positive impact on other people’s self-esteem and mental health and being able to touch people that you can’t even see and make them be comfortable with themselves— that’s an amazing thing.
On contemporary cartoons that portray and empower people of color and different perspectives:
Tyler the Creator has a cartoon now, and there are shows like The Boondocks that focus on Black struggle. It is becoming better, but we still need to continue to highlight previously underrepresented characters. The fact that Black Panther just came out with one of the first Black protagonists from Marvel is wild. It’s 2018! They won’t make more movies with people of color as leads if audiences don’t put more money into these projects. We need to constantly push for change, because so much of it is just business. Fortunately, people came out for Black Panther. We proved it’s value.
On the representation of people in color in cartoons and animation:
What’s disheartening about the lack of representation of people of color in mainstream media is how we start to internalize it, and come to believe that we cannot be or do certain things. Because we aren’t talked about or shown in mainstream media, we are made to feel invisible. Our stories need to be publicly told so that people can know how important they are; the media just hasn’t made it seem that way. We exist, whether or not it sometimes seems like we don’t