A Weekend In The Life of Black Cosplayers at Dragon*Con

A couple of weeks ago, I had the opportunity to spend my Labor Day Weekend in Atlanta at every southern geek's favorite nerdtastic gathering, Dragon*Con, the biggest sci-fi and fantasy convention in the southeast region.

If you live in Atlanta or visited on Labor Day Weekend, then you've likely seen the thousands of geeks walking the streets of Downtown Atlanta in full cosplay gear at Dragon*Con, the Southeast's biggest sci-fi and fantasy convention.

However, most people still have no clue as to what cosplay is -- the practice of dressing up as a character from an anime, manga, movie, book, or video game -- or who or why people even do it.

Like many of those people, I had no clue about that aspect of the geek culture either. That is until I met my crew of black geek friends a couple of years ago, a crew which we've awesomely dubbed Sasuke Hate, and began going to sci-fi and anime conventions with them.

At first I thought that of cosplay as nothing more than some silly extreme fantasy play for geeks. But the more I attended conventions, the more I saw that there's an art and a strong craft to cosplay that requires people to push their imaginations, pick up a tool or a needle and thread, or even a makeup brush, and really put their all into transforming themselves into these fictional characters. 

After immersing myself in the culture, I can see that cosplay really is an underappreciated and misunderstood art form that could stand to use a lot more recognition from the mainstream world.

Not only was it awe inspiring to be surrounded by so many bleeks and blerds (black geeks and nerds) -- which I previously wrote about HERE -- but it was amazing to see that, this year, some of my Sasuke Hate crew decided to come up with a cosplay group, T.H.A.R. Cosplay, and create outfits as a unit for Dragon*Con. 

I personally wasn't able to cosplay this go 'round, although I did make sure to dress as fly as possible. But I was amazed watching my friends put in so much effort and creativity into making their outfits, which included characters like Aqualad, Red Hood, Green Lantern, Static Shock and Shishio Makoto, and go on to wow the crowds of convention goers and random Atlanta residents with their cosplay.

And although I may not be able to broadcast my entire cosplay evolution and experience to the whole world and show them how awesome it can be, luckily for me, I was able to get behind the camera, alongside some other members of our crew and take some amazing pics of our time at Dragon*Con.

So, without further ado, I'm happy to present to our 50 Shades of BLACK readers our photo journal of our Dragon*Con experience. Let's get geeky!

 

** All photos courtesy of Charles Gary, Nic Robinson, Jacolby Chatman, Mario Reid. Editing by Charles Gary. T.H.A.R. Cosplay

Nicholas Harbor

Freelance Journalist, storyteller and blogger for 50 Shades of BLACK

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Posted on September 16, 2014 and filed under art, Identity, personal stories, race, Bleeks and Blerds.