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Post Reply Cosplay and Skin Color
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23 / M / São Paulo - Brazil
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Posted 7/29/13
Hello everybody,

I'd like to share with you my lifetime dilemma: I'm a black cosplayer and I'm ashamed of playing white characters. Most of my favourite characters are white, specially in anime scene.

For example, I'd like to play Hisoka (Hunter x Hunter), but i'm totally afraid of being judged. I told myself a million times that skin colour doesn't matter, but I feel that If I play Hisoka, I'll hear some bad stuff from other people, as I heard sometimes before (are you Yoh after the summer season? isn't that the black version of Yoh, for example).

Last november I played Bilbo, in "The Hobbit" premiere. And I overheard someone saying "He's can't be Bilbo, Bilbo is not black. By the way, is there any Black hobbit?" Why should I be the "black someone"? That really drives me crazy and made me feel sad.

Should I wear skin-colour make-up?

Is there anybody with the same problem? I should feel more confident, but it's hard when you already have a lot of work to do your costume, accessories, weapons and then someone comes and makes you feel really uncomfortable and ashamed for doing what you love to do.

Thanks in advance.
Dragon Mod
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35 / M / OK, USA
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Posted 7/29/13


I really think anyone should be able to cosplay as anything they want. That's one of the great things about cosplay - it's about how we enjoy what we do, making the costumes or learning the poses or lines or however we want to take it.

If you want to use skin makeup to feel more like your character, that should be your choice. But if you don't, or can't find makeup that would work, or for whatever other reason - that's fine, too. I really wish people weren't so hard on cosplayers. Making that costume, wearing it around should be fun. Having people try to tear you down over what you love isn't right. I've seen it all over the place - both from outsiders who don't even have the confidence to cosplay, and from cosplayers who look down on those who are just starting out.

I've seen crossplays. I've seen black versions of white characters, white versions of asian characters, or any other combination imaginable. I think it's great simply that you're into costuming, and lots of others do, too.

But whatever else, have fun. I can't stress that enough. Cosplay in the way that you enjoy, the characters that you want to bring to life. There are people out here who will find it amazing that you do, simply because you do, not because of skin tone or height or weight or anything else.
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23 / F / Tulsa, Oklahoma
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Posted 7/29/13
I think its fine and I agree with the above post.

I'm hispanic and have tan skin. I just try to make sure my skin looks smooth and nice and the wig color compliments my skin tone. Good luck with your outfit!
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23 / M / São Paulo - Brazil
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Posted 7/31/13
Folks, thanks a lot for the support. :)

I'll post later the pictures of my cosplays.
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17 / F / Canada
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Posted 8/1/13
You should never be ashamed of your skin color. I have a few black friends who cosplay and they are some of the best cosplayers I know. I understand what it's like to feel restricted on what you can cosplay, and I learned that if I just pick characters I WANT to cosplay and do the best I can on it, It'll be a good cosplay.
If people judge you, they're no good cosplayers because cosplay takes just as much heart as it does Fabric.
Hope you make it friend. \(^w^)/
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20 / F / USA48
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Posted 8/8/13
Besides of just thinking about what you want to do, it also will probably help to know that others will still probably see you as the character you are cosplaying, despite a different skin color. I am also an African-American cosplayer, so I am not sure sometimes how others see, but it may help to simply think "When I put on this wig and this outfit, I become this character in everyone's minds!"
Posted 8/9/13
It's really stupid to me when people point out skin colour, when all the Asians who cosplay have to wear coloured contacts/circle lenses/coloured wigs!!

And yet - only the non-white or non-Asian cosplayers get flack.

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25 / F / Georgia
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Posted 8/10/13
There's no restrictions of ones' appearance to do Cosplay. Thinking about your skin tone should be the last thought on your mind, you dress up whoever you wish to and have fun. If anyone stupid says something rude to you, just call them a uneducated bigot and keep on cosplaying.
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28 / M / usa
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Posted 8/11/13
your just cosplaying a character from an anime you liked don't worry about someone who judges on skin just have fun if anyone says something just blow them off everyones at the convention to have fun, support there favorite anime and meet more otakus anyway
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Posted 8/11/13
I don't think it should matter what colour skin you have. As long as you have fun and work it, it should be fine.
So please don't go and think that you need to use make-up to colour your skin white or anything like that because of the haters. You put effort into your cosplay. Your blood, sweat, tears went into it. No one else has the right to judge you or the character that you want to portray.

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15 / F / Mirkwood Forest
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Posted 8/12/13

leafarcathal wrote:

Hello everybody,

I'd like to share with you my lifetime dilemma: I'm a black cosplayer and I'm ashamed of playing white characters. Most of my favourite characters are white, specially in anime scene.

For example, I'd like to play Hisoka (Hunter x Hunter), but i'm totally afraid of being judged. I told myself a million times that skin colour doesn't matter, but I feel that If I play Hisoka, I'll hear some bad stuff from other people, as I heard sometimes before (are you Yoh after the summer season? isn't that the black version of Yoh, for example).

Last november I played Bilbo, in "The Hobbit" premiere. And I overheard someone saying "He's can't be Bilbo, Bilbo is not black. By the way, is there any Black hobbit?" Why should I be the "black someone"? That really drives me crazy and made me feel sad.

Should I wear skin-colour make-up?

Is there anybody with the same problem? I should feel more confident, but it's hard when you already have a lot of work to do your costume, accessories, weapons and then someone comes and makes you feel really uncomfortable and ashamed for doing what you love to do.

Thanks in advance.


First off, YOU ARE AWESOME AS BEING BILBO!!!!! I CAN"T WAIT FOR THE NEXT PART OF THE TRILOGY!!!!! Besides that, why the hell are you ashamed? I think it's awesome that you're brave enough to cosplay as someone with a different skin color! Always be your self, and make the best costume around! :3
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24 / M / Chicago
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Posted 8/24/13
You shouldn't be ashamed of cosplaying white characters. As a Filipino American, my natural skin color shortens the pool of characters to cosplay but it never stopped me cosplaying as a German medic, a Japanese magical boy or something else. Sure there's some elitist people out there that don't like the fact someone of another skin color is cosplaying a white character but to many it doesn't matter. Everyone's there to cosplay as their favorite character and hang out with others and have fun (maybe the rare skin color question pops up but it's clearly seen as a light hearted joke with everyone playing along and doesn't kill the mood).


If you want to wear skin color makeup, its your decision but don't let it be the only option.
oz100 
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Posted 8/31/13
Hey there, don't feel ashamed. Most of the amazing cosplayers I've seen are Black.

I found a tumblr blog that is dedicated to Black cosplayers.

Here's a link:

http://cosplayingwhileblack.tumblr.com/
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22 / M / CR Forums
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Posted 9/3/13
Thats quite the dilemma. You might not feel as bad about it as you did at that moment but only you'd know that, so I'll post in my cents.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to cosplay a character that isn't your skin color, your gender, general shape, or completely unsimilar to you. I just got back from a Con over the weekend and I saw tons of them, and it doesn't matter they looked amazing. My favorites being the Black Mari from Neon Gen, plut suit, helmet, and all, daaaayum amazing. Then we had a Dark-link played by an extremely dark skinned man. Nothing wrong with them and they did great.

At the same time, your problem has more to do with yourself and society than the cosplay itself. There is a reason people look for characters they look like to cosplay. You want to look like your character, you want you to be represented. How many times do you see a black-hero in an anime? I think Ryu Jose is the greatest Gundam hero ever, cuz dude, a Black/Mexican man who just man's it up before he dies in the Kamina "too cool to live" style? That's some OG Gundam. The reason I like original Gundam was the wide-style of character races. Amuro Ray being Canadian, the following Kamille and Judau being space. There was one major Japanese guy, and nobody likes Hayato, until Zeta that is.

There is a reason why I like Guts so much, Berserk is an anime that exemplifies all of my tastes while having a Hero with a slightly darker skin-tone than white. He could be a white guy, but he looks far more mixed and Tan, with that jet-black hair, to be your average white guy. No blues or browns, the more common cookie-cutter protagonist colors. Black hair is also looked down upon at times, hence you don't get too many with that color hair outside of the long haired girls.

Then you have my Sister, who really connects with Mikasa Ackerman. How many other extremely-bad ass Half-Asians do you get in anime? How many Half-asians do you get in general? How about ones who share your particular hair cut, attitude, and generalized skin tone?

You want to have your characters be your color man! A lot of cosplay is about acceptance. You want to do the cool and weird stuff, that's the point! But there is a limit. I'm not sure where you live and how many different cultural backgrounds there are, as where I'm at, we have tons. Up in Dallas Texas we'll see more Black, Mexican, Vietnamese, and Thai people than you will white. That will have a large effect on what you feel comfortable with.

Then we have all that "white is the good color" social arguments and blah blah blah blah blah blah.

My Mexican friend is a slight fan of anime, but he's far more a fan of the Convention's atmosphere of acceptance. It's a convention man! They accept cosplays and weird people! Ok, so being black is a little too much for some of them. They can shove it. So what you're not going to win that Cosplay contest because you're not a large-busted white girl who created a very amazing Kimono with your leet-sewing skills. So what if the 3 white women Judges seemed a little off put by a Mexican in a Canti suit. It's cool, it's expected. You surely wernt' surprised when someone made the "Black Bilbo" comment were you? It happens, it hurts. It doesn't mean you didn't spend 3 months creating your ultimate cosplay, getting the weapons and equipment down right, making sure you didn't over heat or the costume doesn't break. Cosplay is half dress up and half show-off. Just run with what you want, and get yourself a group of friends to talk with!

Those are my thoughts on this. I'll suggest finding a Black-character before you ever even THINK about resorting to white-people make up. Ain't nothing wrong with being not white. There totally is something with white people who dislike people cosplaying as characters who aren't white. Especially if they're ok with old white men playing Sailor Moon over black people playing Sailor moon.

Which is fairly common. Not the white old guy thing, the fact that people are often more ok with it. That's not ok.

Yeah, I spent a lot of time talking about this earlier today, so I felt like I had something to add, however small.
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25 / M / New York City
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Posted 9/6/13
You are who you are. Never feel out of character or out of place. You are no different from any other anime fan out there. You keep doing what makes you happy and that is all that matters. Cosplay any time you please if it makes you feel good. Right skin tone or not, you should never be let down by negative thoughts. I really have not notice any kind of discrimination in the cosplaying or anime world. Conventions I've been to and people I have met have all been incredibly open to every race, sex, age, and religion. Open mind is the reason to keep living. You might come across the stupid idiots, but they are only like that because there is pain in their world. That is how I see it. I have always hated bullies and will always stand up to them.

Going off topic now

Cosplay your heart away, leafarcathal!
You will know who your friends are.

:)
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