Diversity and representation of minority groups are on the rise in pop-culture, though not as fast as we’d like it to be. Despite successful films such as “Black Panther” and “Get Out,” the majority of film and television are filled with more white actors than actors of color. Even roles intended for actors of color are often portrayed by white actors, much to the disappointment of the film’s potential fanbase. In spite of such low representation, however, people of minority groups are finding ways to stand up to the white-washing of Hollywood and express the change they want to see in the world; people like cosplayers Sailor Uru and Sailor Adamantium of Wakanda Moon.
“The Wakanda Moon concept came to Sailor Uru in the fall of 2018. She really wanted to do something for Wizard World in New Orleans and wanted to create something unique,” says Sailor Adamantium. “At the time she was obsessed with the movie ‘Black Panther.’ She was really impressed by the Dora Milaje, Wakanda’s army of female warriors.” While King T’challa’s Black Panther alter ego, played by Chadwick Boseman, was introduced in Marvel’s “Captain America: Civil War,” “Black Panther” introduced Wakanda’s royal guard, the Dora Milaje, led by Okoye played by “The Walking Dead’s” Danai Gurira. “While their bald heads, tribal markings, and impeccable details were impressive, [Uru] really loved how in-depth their style matched their personalities,” continues Adamantium. “She thought about other strong female warriors that she could mash this idea with and immediately the scouts of ‘Sailor Moon’ came to mind.”
The African inspiration is apparent in Wakanda Moon’s costumes, such as the tribal face-paint, chokers, and the bright colored fabric of their skirts. On their chests sit a large bow of similar color to each of their costumes, similar to that of the Sailor Scouts from the anime “Sailor Moon.” On their shoulders are pieces of metal armor of different colors based on their cosplay identities. “When picking names, we searched the web for strong powerful metal elements within the Marvel Universe,” says Adamantium. “After reading about elements such as Uru and Adamantium, it was only fitting that we take on these identities.”
Though the Black Panther fights with the help of enhanced abilities and armor, the Dora Milaje are less equipped but manage to fight alongside their king due to their training and ferocity. “[The Dore Milaje] exude such poise and confidence which inspires us as Black women. It is so refreshing to have this representation to look upon for inspiration and pride in the cosplay community.”
Wakanda Moon took home awards from the Wizard World New Orleans Cosplay Contest in January of 2020. Though their unique style deserves praise, Uru and Adamantium hope to show people more than their awards. “The biggest message is love! We want to be able to hug the world one day. How do we do that? We aren’t quite sure but we will continue to move to inspire other people of color, like ourselves, to give themselves permission to try it out. You’ll be surprised by the love you receive from many loving geeks who support you. COSPLAY IS FOR EVERYONE!!!”