How did you get involved with ECBACC?
I found it through Kamau (Mshale). He needed somebody to cosplay one of his characters [Captain Kacela], and I knew of him for a very long time, so I figured I'd shoot my shot and said I'd do it. I was always curious about how to get involved with [ECBACC] because I have a son who loves comics and cartoons. I was still kind of shy. Working with Kamau got me out of my shell.
What's a favorite aspect of ECBACC?
It's really hard to say because there are so many parts that stay with me. I love to watch it grow every year. I like the fact that there are indie comics out there and people eager to read them. It's wonderful that the children get to see people who look like them in comics, and they can ask questions and expand their minds. Love is given to everybody. There's never any shaming going on. Everyone is peaceful and kind and supportive.
How has ECBACC influenced your artistry along the way?
What I like about ECBACC is that you get a lot of ideas when you see other cosplayers or comic book creators. I feel like with some of the other cons--and nothing negative about other cons--but it feels more like a contest. ECBACC feels more family-ish.
What would you like to see from ECBACC moving forward?
It's so amazing seeing us grow out of these different spaces. I would love to see it grow to be another Wizard World or J1-Con, if I want to compare it to another Black con, something bigger that involves even more indie artists.
For the future, I want it to become a household name and a major Philly attraction. I want it to be something that we as a community are proud of and look forward to.
What are some encouraging trends you've seen in terms of indie Black artists?
What I've been noticing about the characters coming out is that they're strong with powers that others haven't created yet. Also, women's costumes have changed. They're not all butt naked or in a skirt and heels running around fighting people. They actually have clothing that makes sense during a fight. So if a person wanted to cosplay that character, they could safely do it without being overly sexualized. The stories are more detailed and intriguing with a lot of imagination. The backdrops make it seem almost like you're there. I love that outside-of-the-box imagery. Some of the imagery seems influenced by different countries in Africa too!
Any future cosplay ideas for when we can convene again?
The last cosplay I did was Storm, and that was my first time doing my own version of her. I wouldn't mind building on that cosplay more. I've done the guards of Wakanda [Dora Milaje], so it made sense to do Storm.