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Koala Cosplay and The Cosplay Dad prove that fandom is for everyone

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Amber Jackson and her dad, Kevin, cosplaying Lilo & Stitch.

In the world of self-expression, we demonstrate our personality by our feelings and opinions. For some, self-expression is getting into character and indulging in the wondrous world of costume and play.

Cosplay is the act of dressing up as a fictional character from movies, TV shows, graphic novels, books, games and other media. It’s literally stepping into your favorite character’s shoes — plus some props, accessories and wigs.

According to The Power of Style: How Fashion and Beauty Are Used to Reclaim Cultures, cosplay was known as costuming and began in the late 1930s in North America. Forrest J. Ackerman got plenty of attention for his futuristic attire when he attended a sci-fi convention. The following conventions gave prizes to the best costume.

In Japan, the manga series Urusei Yatusara helped launch a movement in which fans would dress as their favorite characters for conventions. Here in our city, Anime Milwaukee returned this year after a hiatus due to COVID, with more than 10,000 cosplayers packing the Wisconsin Center.

Among them were Amber Jackson and her father, Kevin, taking on their roles of Koala cosplay and The Cosplay Dad. The pair enthusiastically express their love for fandom, in the process creating space for Black creators and cosplayers.

Audio Storyteller | Radio Milwaukee