comScore #28DaysOfBlackCosplay at The Mary Sue, Day Twenty-Three | The Mary Sue

#28DaysOfBlackCosplay at The Mary Sue, Day Twenty-Three

Meet Abie Ekenezar (Babe Cosplay), Akashaa, and Mark Wesley Pritchard (Texxx-Man Cosplay)

Cosplay of Abie Ekenezar (Babe Cosplay), Akashaa, and Mark Wesley Pritchard (Texxx-Man Cosplay)

Happy Tuesday, fellow cosplay enthusiasts! In today’s feature for our continued celebration of #28DaysOfBlackCosplay we have three cosplayers to share with everyone! Check out their cosplay journey, their favorite looks, and the all-around geekery from the Black cosplay community!

 

Abie Ekenezar (Babe Cosplay)

Abie Ekenezar (Babe Cosplay) has been cosplaying for 10 years! After they went to a convention and saw cosplay in person, they fell in love with it. You can check out their story below!

How do you decide what you’re going to cosplay?

I often look at material. If a character speaks to me depending on what they represent, strength, intelligence, diversity, badassery, then I’ll look at the material to cosplay them.

What cosplay are you most proud of? And yes, it’s absolutely ok to say ALL.

My Batwoman and my Missandei.

What’s a cosplay moment that you remember fondly?

Getting our Game of Thrones group together.

Hey, it’s time to take a break from making that cosplay or buying it off your wishlist, what are you watching/playing/reading to unwind?

Right now I’m reading Akata Witch by Nnedi Okefor and I will likely get into the rest of the series. It reminds me of Nigeria where my parents were born.

Speaking of unwinding, who are your comfort characters? Who are you going to when you need a pick me up?

My TARDIS. I have a TARDIS onesie that makes me just feel at ease.

If you could live in a fictional universe where would it be and why?

I would love to live in the world of Elfquest. They have a beautiful world of dark elves that are not considered evil creatures.

Do you tend to cosplay the character/creature/entity as is or do you put your own spin on them? Any particular reason why? And yes, it’s perfectly ok to say “because I like to.”

I usually do it as it is. There aren’t that many characters of color out there and if I put a spin on it people tend to mix up the characters or not know who they are.

It’s cruel to ask what your favorite cosplay is so what are your top three (at most)? Are they the ones being featured or are they different ones?

Yes. They are the ones being featured and there is also my Hawkeye that I love.

What do your 2021 cosplans look like? If you’re trying to keep it secret OR you have no plans, that’s fine!

I’m looking at the Witcher. I want to start putting cosplays of the two African warrior women on there.

In an alternate universe where money and resources are plentiful, all your bills are paid, and you’ve got nothing but time, what dream cosplays are you doing?

I would love love love to do Shuri Black Panther.

In yet another alternate universe, conventions are safe to return to, so where are you headed?

DragonCon and SDCC.

What inspires you to stay active in the community, especially in these trying times? If you haven’t been active that’s fine, too!

Seeing more and more newcomers wanting to give tribute to those cosplays that never get represented. Or that they ask for help.

What does #28DaysOfBlackCosplay mean to you?

I’m glad that we have a month where we feature our cosplays but I hate that it’s confined to a month where it’s worldly recognized.

It’s March 1st, 2021, what would you like to see happen after the 28 days are over?

I would love to feature more BIPOC cosplayers.

How can the community (people, events, etc.) do better to represent you and other Black cosplayers?

Be more open to the idea of having them represented more often than just one month.

Any tips for newcomers who are waffling on whether or not they should cosplay?

Do what makes you happy and what you feel is fulfilling to you.

What are you looking forward to in 2021? It doesn’t have to be cosplay-related, it can be anything.

More representation in the upcoming media. I’m making my own films also.

Social media time! Tell us where we can find you! Give me as many links as you want. Twitter? TikTok? Patreon? I want it all!

I’m on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

 

Akashaa

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Akasha (@akashaa_cosplay)

Akashaa has been cosplaying for about 4 months. As a doctor, he was inspired to try cosplay after meeting another Black doctor who cosplayed. You can check out his story below, oh, and be sure to check out the doctor who got him started with this whole cosplay thing!

How do you decide what you’re going to cosplay?

I have a background in drag performing and wanted to marry that passion with my blerdy passions (anime, gaming, comics) so I started to choose strong female characters from my favorite mediums and after a great reception I’ve kept it going.

What cosplay are you most proud of? And yes, it’s absolutely ok to say ALL.

Nessa. I think it’s been my most well-received and it really took a lot of attention to detail to nail it.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Akasha (@akashaa_cosplay)

What’s a cosplay moment that you remember fondly?

Having other young Black male cosplayers see my work and realize you can be a dad, husband, doctor, and whatnot while still doing cosplay in whatever way you want even if it’s non-traditional like gender-bending. A lot have reached out to me telling me they’ve always wanted to try it and now feel emboldened to.

Hey, it’s time to take a break from making that cosplay or buying it off your wishlist, what are you watching/playing/reading to unwind?

Spider-Man PS5, watching Haikyuu!! on Netflix, listening to anime OSTs on Spotify, or hanging with my two kids.

Speaking of unwinding, who are your comfort characters? Who are you going to when you need a pick me up?

Fictional: Probably Shoyo Hinata or Yukihira Soma. They will motivate me and feed me lol.

If you could live in a fictional universe where would it be and why?

Food Wars. It’s safe and I get to eat all the best food. I don’t want to end up a hapless bystander with no powers on a Shounen anime universe.

Do you tend to cosplay the character/creature/entity as is or do you put your own spin on them? Any particular reason why? And yes, it’s perfectly ok to say “because I like to.”

I mix it up, I like to add my own spin sometimes other times I like to stick very closely to the source material. Though often it depends on what wig I have available lol.

It’s cruel to ask what your favorite cosplay is so what are your top three (at most)? Are they the ones being featured or are they different ones?

Personal Top 3 is so hard, Nessa, Raven (my first gender-bent cosplay I shared), and probably my most recent Wonder Woman.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Akasha (@akashaa_cosplay)

What do your 2021 cosplans look like? If you’re trying to keep it secret OR you have no plans, that’s fine!

If outside opens up I’d love to do Urbosa (Legend of Zelda) but in a manner that fully combines drag and Cosplay (elaborate glamorous garb and makeup with exaggerated proportions, etc.). Otherwise, Korra is probably my next as people have been clamoring for it!

In an alternate universe where money and resources are plentiful, all your bills are paid, and you’ve got nothing but time, what dream cosplays are you doing?

Urbosa, Shiek/Zelda, all the Sailor Scouts are a few that come to mind. I’d also get much more props.

In yet another alternate universe, conventions are safe to return to, so where are you headed?

BlerDCon 2021!

What inspires you to stay active in the community, especially in these trying times? If you haven’t been active that’s fine, too!

When I did drag I had many moments where onlookers would rush me for photos and it would make their day. Cosplay is much of the same and it also allows me to pay homage to my favorite strong fictional women and by extension that strong women in my everyday life like my sister, wife, mentors in surgery, and my mother (RIP).

What does #28DaysOfBlackCosplay mean to you?

To me, it’s a much-needed recognition of the strong presence of Black cosplayers who may otherwise be overlooked by their Caucasian counterparts because they may not resemble a character as closely, for instance. I think it serves to bring the community together and validate the efforts of established Black cosplayers while also encouraging the up-and-coming cosplayers.

It’s March 1st, 2021, what would you like to see happen after the 28 days are over?

I would love more followers haha, but seriously increased visibility, the continued growth of the community, and an environment that fosters the growth of cosplayers who are just starting and those who are well established.

How can the community (people, events, etc.) do better to represent you and other Black cosplayers?

More events catering specifically to Black cosplayers and focusing on different types of Black cosplayers (gender benders like myself, crafters, those who strictly purchase costumes, those who are skilled at editing photos, etc.) that way we emphasize the diversity within the Black cosplay community.

Any tips for newcomers who are waffling on whether or not they should cosplay?

Do it! Don’t let anyone discourage you. Life is short, cosplay is fun, so in the short time we do have try to have a bit of fun!

What are you looking forward to in 2021? It doesn’t have to be cosplay-related, it can be anything.

Completing my residency training and moving down south to start my job as a physician.

Social media time! Tell us where we can find you! Give me as many links as you want. Twitter? TikTok? Patreon? I want it all!

I’m on Instagram!

 

Mark Wesley Pritchard (Texxx-Man Cosplay)

Image of Mark Wesley Pritchard (Texxx-Man Cosplay) cosplaying as Superman

Mark Wesley Pritchard (Texxx-Man Cosplay) has been cosplaying for 6 1/2 years. Inspired by seeing others doing it on YouTube, he decided to jump on the cosplay bandwagon. You can check out his story below!

How do you decide what you’re going to cosplay?

I owe it all to Google searches and Pinterest.

What cosplay are you most proud of? And yes, it’s absolutely ok to say ALL.

Miles Morales, Superman, and Lord Gyaradrakkon (my Lord Drakkon and Gyarados cosplay mashup).

Image of Mark Wesley Pritchard (Texxx-Man Cosplay) doing his MMPR/Pokemon mash up

What’s a cosplay moment that you remember fondly?

I have two: finally meeting Jason David Frank at Arkansas Comic-Con in 2019 and meeting John Wesley Shipp three different times at a con in my area last year, before the pandemic hit.

Hey, it’s time to take a break from making that cosplay or buying it off your wishlist, what are you watching/playing/reading to unwind?

I’m in love with Cobra Kai. Can’t get enough of it.

Speaking of unwinding, who are your comfort characters? Who are you going to when you need a pick me up?

Definitely Miles Morales and Captain America. Also, for extra comfort, I’d go to the arcade (when it’s safe, of course) because video games are my escape from reality.

If you could live in a fictional universe where would it be and why?

I would be in the Spiderverse, because I always dreamt of shooting webs, fighting bad guys, and saving the world.

Do you tend to cosplay the character/creature/entity as is or do you put your own spin on them? Any particular reason why? And yes, it’s perfectly ok to say “because I like to.”

I tend to cosplay the characters as is. I have about 25,000 followers on TikTok, so whenever people see my cosplays, they enjoy the content I post.

It’s cruel to ask what your favorite cosplay is so what are your top three (at most)? Are they the ones being featured or are they different ones?

Miles Morales would be my top choice, followed by Superman, and then I.R.S., a wrestler from the 80s and 90s. I’m actually a page model for Sharing Cosplay on Instagram and get featured on their page. My cosplays are also featured from time to time on Gay Geeks After Hours on Instagram.

Mark Wesley Pritchard (Texxx-Man Cosplay) cosplaying as Miles

What do your 2021 cosplans look like? If you’re trying to keep it secret OR you have no plans, that’s fine!

I’ve already debuted my first cosplay of 2021, which is Superman (Henry Cavill). My next one will be Black Adam.

In an alternate universe where money and resources are plentiful, all your bills are paid, and you’ve got nothing but time, what dream cosplays are you doing?

Spider-Man 2099, Blue Zeo Ranger, The Riddler, and Captain America.

In yet another alternate universe, conventions are safe to return to, so where are you headed?

If I had to go to any con in the United States, I would attend Wizard World in any state. I’ve heard many good things about it.

What inspires you to stay active in the community, especially in these trying times? If you haven’t been active that’s fine, too!

Posting my cosplay pics, whether they’re current or from years past. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I’m very active on TikTok, mostly in cosplay.

What does #28DaysOfBlackCosplay mean to you?

To me, it means making our voices heard and the importance of inclusion and representation of Black cosplayers everywhere. We all matter and are important in the cosplay community.

It’s March 1st, 2021, what would you like to see happen after the 28 days are over?

My hope is for all of us to attend cons in person again. We have cosplays that we’re itching to wear at conventions.

How can the community (people, events, etc.) do better to represent you and other Black cosplayers?

By getting to know us better instead of judging us based on how we look or what we choose to cosplay as. For years, many people would tell us that we’re not the correct ethnicity for specific cosplays. However, we can cosplay as anyone we want to. Haters will always be around, but they shouldn’t stop us from making and doing cosplays.

Any tips for newcomers who are waffling on whether or not they should cosplay?

I would tell them to go ahead and cosplay. As long as you’re passionate about the characters you probably grew up watching, cosplay is for everyone, regardless of age, gender, size, sexual orientation, etc.

What are you looking forward to in 2021? It doesn’t have to be cosplay-related, it can be anything.

To finally return to work. I’m currently on paid leave from my shipping clerk job due to the pandemic. It’s been almost a year since I last worked. I love my job and miss my coworkers. I’m eager to rejoin them again at the office.

Social media time! Tell us where we can find you! Give me as many links as you want. Twitter? TikTok? Patreon? I want it all!

I’m on TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram.

That’s all for now, see everyone tomorrow!

(Image: Abie Ekenezar (Babe Cosplay), Akashaa, and Mark Wesley Pritchard (Texxx-Man Cosplay))

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Briana (she/her - bisexual) is trying her best to cosplay as a responsible adult. Her writing tends to focus on the importance of representation, whether it’s through her multiple book series or the pieces she writes. After de-transforming from her magical girl state, she indulges in an ever-growing pile of manga, marathons too much anime, and dedicates an embarrassing amount of time to her Animal Crossing pumpkin patch (it's Halloween forever, deal with it Nook)