Photo: WakandaCon (wakandaconforever.com)

As the urgency for diverse representation continues to rise to the forefront, Wakandacon offers a refuge that oftentimes doesn’t exist. For black folks eager to partake in the bevy of popular Comic-Cons and expos at their disposal, oftentimes its a frustrating experience fraught with casual prejudice and alienation.

Cue Wakandacon, which prides itself on being a three-day celebration of Afro-futuristic art, technology, community, cosplay, and self-expression within the African diaspora. And after making its debut last summer, the burgeoning family-friendly convention will be making its triumphant return at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in Chicago on July 26-28.

“We were inspired to create something more than a fandom convention. Wakandacon is about art, culture, tech, and self-expression, but also about showcasing dreams, aspirations, and authentic representation of Black people,” Wakandacon founder David Barthwell said in a statement.

His co-conspirators are comprised entirely of fellow Chicago residents: Ali and Matt Barthwell join him as co-founders, while Lisa Beasley and Taylor Witten serve as founding producers. And yes, all of the above are black.

“We wanted a space to gather and talk about everything African-Americans are passionate about,” added Ali. “Afro-futurism is about imagining a future for Black people all around the world. Wakandacon is a space for Black people to look past the present and into our future.”

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With more than 2,500 attendees and over 70 minority-owned vendors involved last year, expect those numbers to skyrocket as the convention continues to grow in popularity.

For tickets and information, visit their website.