I'm a Black Female Cosplayer, and Some People Hate It

Chaka Cumberbatch recalls at xoJane how the simple act of dressing up like her favorite anime character brought out some of the Internet's worst racism. 

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Chaka Cumberbatch (xoJane)

Chaka Cumberbatch recalls at xoJane how the simple act of dressing up like her favorite anime character brought out some of the Internet's worst racism.

I got a crash course in this when in 2010, I cosplayed Sailor Venus, my favorite character from my favorite anime, Sailor Moon ...

What kills me is that in person, nobody has the balls to say a word about whether or not they think darker-skinned people should cosplay lighter skinned characters -- but online is a completely different animal. Online, I was "Nigger Venus," and "Sailor Venus Williams" because I am black.

My nose was too wide, lips were too big, I had a "face like a gorilla" and wasn't suited for such a cute character, because I am black. My wig was too blonde, my wig wasn't blonde enough, or, my wig was ghetto because I was making it ghetto, by being black and having it on my head.

And furthermore, if I was going to insist on "ruining characters," I could have at least picked one with black hair so it looked more "natural." I should have worn blue contacts -- but if I had, it would have looked ghetto. Because I am black.

The depths that the insults sink to are enough to scare many interested cosplayers away from even trying. I had an indian friend who refused to cosplay anything other than Indian characters after watching the way people tore into my costumes online.

Read Chaka Cumberbatch's entire piece at xoJane.

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