Words by Natalie Goode-Henry

Cosplay has reached the Caribbean. Yes, it may be the eve of Halloween, but playing dress up is nothing new for the islands of Jamaica and Barbados. Each country hosts an annual convention–Barbados’ AnimeKon and Jamaica’s Anime Nation–where Caribe’s embody (literally!!) their pop culture idols from Japan.

Chloe, blogger from Barbados, writes about cosplaying while Caribbean in her “Starbright Dreams” blog.

“When I first heard of cosplay when I was younger, it was something far removed for me. I liked it and admired it but I felt it was something I couldn’t do,” writes Chloe, who cosplayed for the first time as Amane Misa from the Japanese anime series Death Note in 2012.

“But thanks to sites like Cosplaying While Black and Cosplaying While Latino, I’ve gained confidence that I can be as good as any cosplayer…I won’t deny that it is nice to see more diversity on cosplay circuit with more latino/hispanic and black cosplayers trying their hand despite there being a lack of non-Asian PoC (people of the Caribbean) in their favorite anime series” adds Chloe.

Cosplayer at Anime Nation 2014 Photo Courtesy: The Jamaica Animation Nation Network

Cosplayer at Anime Nation 2014
Photo Courtesy: The Jamaica Animation Nation Network

The AnimeKon Expo, held in Bridgetown, Barbados, celebrated its fourth year this past summer. The two-day premier event includes cosplay tournaments, meet-and-greets with industry veterans and trivia contests attracting pop culture addicts from Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia and Jamaica.

For the anime, comic, video game and movie enthusiasts on the shores of Jamaica there is Anime Nation in which Japanese animation marries Jamaican art.

The convention, launched in 2010 and held in Kingston, is the more Japanese-oriented comic convention compared to Barbados’ AnimeKon, mostly because it’s run by the Japanese embassy. In addition to meeting fellow cosplaying anime addicts, the two day event also offers Japanese cultural exhibits and Jamaican artwork for purchase.

The collaboration between the Japanese Embassy and Jamaica’s largest cosplay group Ja Cosplayaz help attendees to not only plant their freak geek flag, but happily watch it fly!