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Dear The Magic Rain,
To whomever is reading this, like any other cosplayer, I try to become that character. But since I’m black, I run into the problem that all of the characters I want/would like to cosplay have lighter complexions than me. I always run into the fear that if I cosplay as this character, I may be judged for being a character lighter than my natural skin tone or criticized for making my skin lighter to look more like the character. As you can see, I’ve hit a wall. What should I do?
It’s great hearing from you. You are speaking for many others like you, who encounter the problem of having a different skin colour from the character they intend to cosplay. First of all, what I would like to say to you is that you should follow your heart in what you choose to do. Do not be afraid to be who you are or do what you are passionate in doing. In this case, cosplay characters who have lighter complexions than you.
You will never be able to please anyone. So, you might as well cosplay the character you love and make yourself happy. There will be others who will be supportive of you, be it with light or darker skin. It doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, it’s a matter of personal preference, just do you.
There’s always the scary thought of crossing the line of “black-facing” or “white-facing”. Many people have different opinions to it. Some people strongly advise against it, some people strongly believes it’s vital for to be accurate, and some people are neutral about it.
In my opinion, and I do not speak for everyone, I am on the neutral side because I think by giving “black-facing” or “white-facing” too much power, we are moving backwards and reinforcing the idea of racism, not letting go of our past. It is also important to consider the context and society in which this occurs. In the West, it could be very insensitive to darken skin tones because of their history, whereas countries in Asia, some Koreans love Westerner’s skin, so they would do anything to lighten it (e.g., the use of whitening bb creams etc). Intentions also matter; do you do it in a positive light? Or a bad one?
So, to answer your question, I believe every skin tone is beautiful. Do what you’re comfortable with. Whether your skin is darker than the character you intend to cosplay, or if you want to “lighten” your skin. Just do it. At the end of the day, you can’t please everyone, and you should do what makes you happy, with the right intentions. If you choose to cosplay with your own skin tone and someone criticises you, just go along with it with your head held high because only you can do you.
Don’t waste your energy and time in trying to please people who don’t matter. Because those who matter would see past these “imperfections” and see you as perfect. All the best, cosplayer!! You’ll do a great job, I believe in you!
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