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This Black Cosplayer Is On A Mission To Banish Nerd Culture Stereotypes

This Black Cosplayer Is On A Mission To Banish Nerd Culture Stereotypes
Cosplayer Mica Burton
 This article first appeared on By Erickka Sy Savané
Older folks say, “She got it honest,” when a
kid takes on the mannerisms or likes of a parent. This couldn’t be more
true of 22-year-old cosplayer Mica Burton, who got her first taste of the cosplay world while picking her dad, actor LeVar Burton of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame, up from San Diego Comic Con.
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cosplay- the global phenomena where people dress up as their favorite
anime, video game or comic book super heroes- might be foreign to many
of us, it’s a normal way of life for Mica.
“I say that I was born into a Star Trek family
because the influence has always been there,” says Mica, who received
her first costume as a child, and would wear it everyday while watching
her favorite TV show Sailor Moon. Video games, a pastime she picked up while bonding with her dad, would also play a big part.

However, it was in junior high, when a friend took her to her first
cosplay convention, that everything Mica had been exposed to growing up,
would begin to make sense.
“The convention really spoke to me because I was able to see people
who were into the same thing that I’m into,” explains Mica, who often
felt like an outsider growing up, when some of the black kids would call
her ‘oreo’ for her interest in nerd culture. Still, Mica found herself
drawn into the cosplay world, where she could express herself

This Black Cosplayer Is On A Mission To Banish Nerd Culture Stereotypes

Armed with sewing skills she inherited from her grandmother, and tips from her makeup artist mom,
Mica attended her first cosplay convention in high school. And she kept
it up while attending the University of Michigan, where she eventually
received a BFA in Acting.

“The builds and projects were all on a smaller scale, due to space
and funds, but I never wanted to lose my passion or my skills I’d worked
so hard for,” she explains.
 It was a chance meeting at a restaurant in L.A. that lead Mica to her
current position as a content creator and on-air talent at a popular
YouTube gaming channel called Rooster Teeth.
“I was a fan of Rooster Teeth since
I was a kid, and coincidentally, one of my favorite members of the
company was at the same restaurant my family and I were in in LA. My dad
helped me work up the courage to say hello, and after that we kept in
From there, Mica attended one of their conventions, met the founders
and some other employees. Before long, she was cast in their feature
film and offered a full time position straight out of high school.
Today, Mica is a popular cosplay model with a huge social media
following, but if she could have one wish, it would be to see more
cosplayers of color.
“Right now, about 2% of cosplayers that I see at conventions are
African American, and there are even fewer professional cosplayers,”
says Mica, who believes that part of the issue may stem from the fact
that African Americans don’t typically feel uncomfortable showing their
nerd side in public. Then there’s dealing with off-putting comments
like, “you look good in that costume for a Black girl.”

So, what does Mica’s future in cosplay look like?

“At some point, I’m going to move home to L.A. and continue my acting
career. I’m not sure if and when my acting career takes off I’ll be
able to continue it as seriously, but I’d like to try,” she says. For
now,  she’s super excited to be guesting at the Raleigh and Florida
Supercon conventions with her dad.

“It’s kinda like a dream-come-true because we used to talk about the
day that we’d both be guested at the same convention. He has his fans
and I have my younger geek friends and fans that he’ll be meeting for
the first time. It’s going to be a lot of fun!”

Do you or your friends ever cosplay?  What do you think about it?

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