Meet Minnesota Cosplayers: Solsounder, Rawiyah, and Anthony Garnett

After Briana’s great article, “The Importance of #28DaysOfBlackCosplay,” we thought you might like to meet some of the local black cosplayers here in Minnesota. This is the first of three posts over the next three days celebrating #28DaysOfBlackCosplay by introducing you to some awesome Minnesotans and their awesome cosplay!

Solsounder

Solsounder has a cosplay page on Facebook.

Solsounder as Hawkeye (Photo by Drake Larson)

Solsounder as Hawkeye. Photo by Drake Larson

Hal Bichel (TCG): Why is cosplay important to you?

Solsounder: [Cosplay] brings an amazing kaleidoscope of art of us as people and I really dig the whole spectrum of the fun and good work done to make cosplay really good, from drawing within our brains and using our hearts too.

Tony Kennedy as Cole McGrath from Infamous (Photo by Jill Walek)

Solsounder as Cole McGrath from Infamous. Photo by Jill Walek

TCG: Who are your inspirations?

Solsounder:  majority of cosplayers/famous cosplayers here in Minnesota, and the US and the world too.

TCG: What would you like to tell fellow Minnesotans about cosplay and the cosplay community?

Solsounder: Go for a costume when you wear it. It really brings out an artfully amazing side of you that is positively different. To the people who say they cannot cosplay, be brave and bold to go for something that really says you are not afraid of going for what you are wearing. After all, it is for fun and really good times. Cosplayers, draw from your mind and wear your heart positively.

TCG: At which local conventions can you usually be seen in costume?

Solsounder: Anime Detour (this will be my 12th year), CONvergence, Anime Fusion, and others cons out of state too.

Tony Kennedy's Scribblenauts cosplay (Photo by Brittney)

Solsounder’s Scribblenauts cosplay. Photo by Brittney

Rawiyah

Rawiyah has a profile on cosplay.com and a blog on which she sometimes talks about cosplay.

Rawiyah as Raven

Rawiyah as Raven.

TCG: Why is cosplay important to you?

Rawiyah: Cosplay is important to me because it gives me a chance to be someone else for a while. It gives me the opportunity to be the characters of my favorite movies, TV shows, comic books, et cetera, and it allows me to let loose and be someone else for a change. I also enjoy cosplay very much because I find that my life is so much more enjoyable when I spend time working on my costumes. I enjoy having something positive to do with my spare time by sewing, collecting different pieces of fabric, and searching the Internet looking for new contacts lenses or wigs that I can use for different cosplays.

Rawiyah as Starfire

Rawiyah as Starfire.

I also enjoy acting as the characters I cosplay, which—I’m not sure if that’s what people usually do during cosplay, but it’s something I definitely enjoy doing. I love it when I’m dressed as a character and people shout out, “Hey, Starfire!” or “Raven! Can I take your picture?” It’s especially important to me when people not only address me as that character, but when they talk to me as that character as well. I will never forget when one child came up to me as Starfire and said, “Hey Starfire, Robin is right over there.” And I said, “Yes, I know.” And he said, “I just thought I’d tell you because I know you love Robin.”

Cosplay is fun not only for me but for the people who get to see my costumes as well. It’s a chance for everyone to experience their favorite comic-book, movie, TV characters in person as though it were real life, and what better place to see other characters communicate than at conventions? If I could I would cosplay everywhere, I love it so much!

TCG: Who are your inspirations?

Rawiyah: I have a lot of different inspirations for different cosplays, though I am a really big fan of a cosplayer named Faye Lynn. I think her cosplays are beautiful and I get inspired when I see how easy she makes it look! Haha. I’m, however, always inspired by other black cosplayers, as it seems being a black cosplayer guarantees you some negative attention based on skin tone of the character versus skin tone of you, but I always applaud these cosplayers for still doing it regardless! I have many different inspirations, however, depending on my costume. When I’m in the planning stages of a new cosplay, I’ll usually look at different images online of that character’s costume, and then I’ll look up other cosplay images and narrow it down to a few that I really, really love and I’ll create my own interpretation of those different cosplays, combining some elements, dropping some others.

I also use tutorials for things that I’m not too familiar with, such as when I made shoe covers for my Starfire cosplay, or when I had to make a hooded cape for my Raven cosplay. Music is also one of my inspirations as well. Oftentimes I’ll hear a song that reminds me of that character and then I’ll fall in love with the character even more and get the desire to cosplay them.

TCG: What would you like to tell fellow Minnesotans about cosplay and the cosplay community?

Rawiyah as a fawn

Rawiyah as a fawn at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival.

Rawiyah: One thing I’ve noticed about people who don’t cosplay is that oftentimes they can’t understand why people do it. I’ve heard people say there’s no fun in spending hours building a costume—especially one that is thick and heavy—then walking around for hours in a convention center that is hot and sweaty, or wearing a costume that is so skimpy and shows so much skin that it’s cold. Personally, I like to tell these people that the fun isn’t in wearing the costume; the fun is in being that character, experiencing that character, and showing off a costume you made on your own that you’re very proud of. People seem to think that cosplayers are nerdy, have no lives, or are lazy and buy their costumes instead of making them. Not all, but a vast majority (in my opinion) of cosplays are handmade, because a premade costume usually costs an arm and a leg. I don’t think your average cosplayer has that type of money to spend literally hundreds to thousands of dollars on a premade costume when they could easily spend less than that and make their own, or help someone else make one for them.

The cosplay community is also very diverse, with people from all walks of life. There are people from all sort of different cultures and all sorts of different places in life that cosplay and enjoy it. Some cosplayers make costumes for a living, while others do it as a hobby. I know some people might also feel that the cosplay community is exclusive and hard to get into. I mean, I think the cosplay community is pretty friendly overall. But in every community there’s always going to be people with strong opinions, and sometimes you can’t do anything to change that, that’s just who they are. But if you want to get involved with cosplay, don’t let someone’s opinion steer you clear of cosplaying! Just have fun and do it because you really want to.

TCG: At which local conventions can you usually be seen in costume?

Rawiyah: This year I will attend MSP ComicCON in Minneapolis, which is located on the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. I can also be seen at Source Comics and Games on Free Comic Book Day.

Anthony Garnett

Anthony cosplays regularly with MN Superheroes United. Check out their Facebook page.

Anthony Garnett as Green Lantern John Stewart

Anthony Garnett as Green Lantern John Stewart.

Anthony Garnett as Nick Fury

Anthony Garnett as Nick Fury.

TCG: Why is cosplay important to you?

Anthony: I wouldn’t necessarily say cosplay is “important” to me. I do feel it’s important to have black heroes represented in the cosplay community, but I don’t find myself needing to cosplay. When I dress up it’s really for one reason, the kids. I admit I might closely resemble a character from a cartoon, comic book, or movie, and these kids find joy in the idea of meeting a real life representation of one of those characters. It’s pretty cool to think that I might be on the fridge next to the picture with Santa.

TCG: Who are your inspirations?

Anthony: The characters I dress as are characters I resemble. So you could say my inspiration comes from Marvel and DC. I dress up to be the closest representation of the character as I can. Thankfully the Marvel movies are putting more black heroes on the big screen, giving more popularity to the black heroes.

TCG: At which local conventions can you usually be seen in costume?

Anthony: I Cosplay with a group known as MN Superheroes United. We can be seen at local charity events, Free Comic Book Day, Zoo Boo, Wizard World Comic Con Minneapolis, movie premieres, and MCBA’s FallCon and SpringCon (MSP ComicCON).

Anthony Garnett as Heroes for Hire Luke Cage Powerman

Anthony Garnett as Heroes for Hire Luke Cage Powerman.

Next: “Meet Minnesota Cosplayers: Cyril Cosplay, Master Trekkie, Ninjabearbear09, and Brichibi Cosplays

Are you a Minnesota cosplayer who would like to be featured on Twin Cities Geek? Send an email to cosplay@twincitiesgeek.com with the subject, “Meet Minnesota Cosplayer [Your Name]!” All skill levels are welcome.

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