It is Black History Month 2020, so being the sociologist I am, I tend to reflect on race more than ever this time of year. One of the things I remember watching way back while in college was the video of a project by Anderson Cooper about how children view racial beliefs and the attitudes that they associate with skin color. It is a tough thing to watch, but I have linked the video below:
The reflection on race in particular in regards to different mediums had me thinking about the merchandise I saw at all the conventions Blerd went to last year. I stopped by one booth at Anime USA that truly had some nice anime merchandise featuring female characters. However, I also noticed all of the characters were only White or Asian. I had just attended a panel about racism in anime (which also did not have any black speakers) and the lack of inclusion stuck out to me again. While the nature of anime does tend to cater more towards that market since most of it comes out of Japan, a large portion of the attendees of the event were Black.
Representation and inclusion matters and having no presence at all in this market seems like a big problem to me. Young people absolutely need to see positive images of people that look like them, especially young black kids. There is too much negative media surrounding being black in general to not have positive images of black characters in these spaces. With the growing love of anime in the black community, more characters that represent us positively are going to be necessary. I believe this is why the anime series Cannon Busters was so highly anticipated by the blerd community.
I was introduced to the concept of Ikigai in a video by Chris Do of The Futur. The basic concept is that what you should be doing with your life is a combination of what you love, what you are good at, what you can make money on, and what the world needs. For me, Blerd is my Ikigai and this collection falls into the “what the world needs category.” If you want to support the mission of increasing representation with me, please consider making a purchase of our black anime girl PIQ collection.