A Lithuanian streamer Karina “Karupups” Martsinkevich was temporarily banned by Twitch for wearing blackface in cosplaying the character Lifeline from the game Apex Legends. This blackface stream was viewed by about 160 viewers before it was banned. According to an email sent to Kotaku, the streamer said she just wanted to show the viewers how hard is to prepare for a cosplay and how much time the make up, costume and another details can take. She just wanted to be similar to the character and she did not mean for her cosplay to be painful for anyone.
Blackface, which is originated in the 19th century, it is the practice of white actors dressing up as black characters, often to highlight exaggerated or racist stereotypes. Embedded with cultural roots in the United States, blackface invokes a racist and painful history. According to NMAAHC, the first minstrel shows mimicked enslaved Africans on Southern plantations, depicting black people as lazy, ignorant, cowardly or hypersexual. Blackface performances tended to be funny to the white people, but hurtful to the black community.
As blackface is controversial and widely despised in the cosplay community, people who like cosplay should avoid using blackface in your cosplay. While aesthetic fidelity can be a primary concern for cosplayers, altering racial appearance easily devolves into stereotyping and recalls the history of the practice. On top of that, black cosplayers have faced numerous barriers getting into the cosplay scene because, traditionally, there are comparatively few characters in video games, comics and anime who appear black or dark-skinned. According to several black cosplayers interviewed by Kotaku in 2016, they sometimes receive pushback and criticism for dressing up as characters who are not black.
Cosplay, short for costume play, is a type of performance art in which participants wear costumes and accessories to represent a specific character or idea from movie, game, anime and comic books and so on. Cosplay is for everyone, but it does not mean that you can do what you want. Rules and regulations are made for cosplayers to observe before portraying their favorite character. Just like the above example, you should avoid blackface in doing cosplay.
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