News Reality

Why This 'Brown Batman' Meant So Much To One Little Boy

by www.huffingtonpost.com

A simple yet powerful encounter at a fantasy and sci-fi convention is showing why representation is so important for young kids. 

Last week, 25-year-old cosplayer Charles Conley shared an inspiring story on Facebook. 

Conley, who has been cosplaying since 2011, attended the multigenre convention, Dragon Con, in Atlanta this September. In his now-viral Facebook post, he wrote about his decision to dress as Batman for the convention.

“As many of you know I’ve had to deal with issues regarding bigots who can’t seem to wrap their mind around the idea of a black guy cosplaying Batman, because ‘Batman is historically white, there are plenty of black characters you could do instead,’” he wrote. “Well I cosplay Batman because I love the character and because representation matters.”

Conley said he was walking around in his Dark Knight costume when he came across a little boy with his mom. Conley explained that the boy was a person of color and wearing his own black-and-yellow Batman outfit.

“He couldn’t have been more than 5 or 6,” he said.

“This little boy saw me approaching and immediately stopped dead in his tracks, tugging at his mother’s hand,” the cosplayer recalled. “I could see him point at his hand (the skin) and then pointing to me.”

Conley approached the boy, who was a little frightened by his full armor outfit, so he knelt down and put out his hand for a high five. 

“With all the force he could muster he slapped my hand, with the biggest smile on his face,” Conley wrote. “He told me he wanted to ask me something so, still kneeling I leaned in with my ear.

‘Batman,’ he said timidly, ‘You’re brown, just like me! Does that mean that I can be a real superhero someday too? I don’t see a lot of brown superheroes...’”

The cosplayer said the little boy’s words “touched the deepest part of [his] soul.”

“If you know me, you know that I don’t ever break character but I broke down when he said that,” he wrote. Breaking his own cosplay rule, Conley then removed his cowl to show the boy his face. Seeing the boy light up made him tear up even more, he said. 

“I looked this kid dead in the eye and said ‘you can be any superhero you want to be and don’t ever let anyone tell you different. Being a brown superhero is a very special thing, and I know you’re going to make a great one.’”

The boy nodded, and his mother thanked him for making her son’s day. Conley said he then put his cowl back on, wiped away his tears and tried to get back into character as Batman. 

“These kids are growing up in a country where you can so easily feel like ‘less than’ because your skin is darker,” Conley wrote. “Police brutality and racism are being made ever so visible by today’s multimedia outlets, and these kids aren’t blind, they take that in.”

Ha added, “For kids like this little boy, the idea that you can one day be a superhero, no matter what your skin color is, opens up a whole new world for them. This is why I cosplay. This is why I’m The Batman.”

Conley concluded with the hashtag #RepresentationMatters. The post received over 11,000 likes and 5,000 shares, and the comments section is filled with supportive responses. 

He told The Huffington Post that he shared the story to show why diversity matters.

“I also just thought it’d be nice to share this heartfelt experience I had,” he added.

Conley has a prop-building business called Ebony Warrior Studios and also works as a chef. He said the response to his story has been “overwhelming,” as he’s received messages from as far away as New Zealand. 

The cosplayer told HuffPost that he hopes people who read his story realize that representation matters for kids. “There are not very many heroes of color in the mainstream world, and kids ? contrary to what you may believe ? see that and take it to heart,” he said.

“It’s so very important to let them know they have just as much opportunity to be one of these great superheroes,” he added. “Love the skin that you’re in, don’t think you have to change it to be accepted or ‘accurate.’”

He also noted that he doesn’t want to be seen as just “Black Batman” in the cosplay world.

“I may have beautiful chocolate skin but that does not define my cosplay,” he said. “So I’m not cosplaying ‘Black’ Batman. I am Batman. It’s not who I am underneath but what I do that defines me.”

Conley said he was bullied as a child and knows what it’s like to feel inferior.

“I am Batman today because I don’t ever what any kids to feel what I used to feel. I want them to know that there is hope,” he told HuffPost. “I pray that a short big-headed kid with thick glasses sees this a realizes that I used to be just like that.”

Conley added, “Everyone has the opportunity to be a hero.”

-- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.


Read Full Article On www.huffingtonpost.com
Latest
A great pizza dough flipper probably can't turn out one perfectly shaped pizza dough every nine seconds, but one California company's robotic pizza dough press can make a great pie at that whiplash-in
The invitations increase female membership to 28% and members of color to 13%.        
These new patios aren’t as well-known to the crowds yet, so you’ll have a good chance at a table.
Oysters, langoustine and sea trout may be found along with lamb tartare on the distinctive menu        
Miu Miu’s campaigns have been as cheery, colorful and conceptual as the collections in recent seasons, featuring an assemblage of actresses and models across age ranges in eclectic locations. Ther
Yes, the stuff of cafeteria bologna sandwiches and picnic potato salads keeps meats from sticking to the grill        
Bad Boy Entertainment is expanding into retail. The record label, which was founded by Sean “Diddy” Combs, is producing the Heritage collection, a line of Bad Boy merchandise that will be exclusiv
Prince William, Prince Harry and Kate Middleton are honoring the late Princess Diana almost 20 years after her death.        
Stripes on top of stripes, biker shorts when you're not on a bike — and lots more tips from the summer runway shows.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - When Americans think of summer, a few standbys come to mind: Baseball games, fireworks shows and hot dogs.
On Wednesday's episode of Love Island, Camilla Thurlow was left heartbroken after discovering that her couple partner Jonny Mitchell had said that he wanted to get to know newcomer Tyla Ca
Love Island: Montana Brown comforted Camilla Thurlow over her heartbreak [ITV] Jonny decided to pick Camilla in the latest Love Island recoupling, but his true feelings about Tyla Carr soon surfac
On this week’s podcast, Kathryn Hahn and John Cho read stories about the highs and lows of those ubiquitous summer ceremonies.
'Despicable Me 3' co-stars Kristen Wiig and Steve Carell talk '80s styles, music and crushes.        
The Houston Rockets made the first huge move on an NBA free agent even before free agency begins this weekend by trading for Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul.
The 774 members are a record, beating last year's 683 new members.        
ANTIGONISH, N.S. - A former Canadian soldier was not turned away from a Nova Scotia hospital in the days before he killed three members of his family and himself, relatives ...
With their up-to-the-minute house and techno beats, Will Automagic and Nita Aviance have built a large following on New York’s gay club scene.
Here's the latest roundup of what's open in the park this summer and what's not, and details on summer fun.
Goopie essentials, a cute sports bra and leggings, designer items at a deep discount, and more.
A whole new host of faces entered the Love Island villa when the series kicked off at the start of June. Girls Amber Davies, Montana Brown, Jessica Shears, Camilla Thurlow, Chloe Crowhurst and Oliv
The governing body for the Oscars brought in a record 774 new members        
William, Kate, Harry to gather on the 56th birthday of the late Princess of Wales.        
Caroline Flack has returned to present Love Island once again [Getty] Love Island has kicked off with another season of romance, rivalry and scandal fresh on offer with the contestants n
History says a major regression is coming for big-hitting, rookie sluggers Aaron Judge and Cody Bellinger.
The posterior-positive hit has sprung its way into late night, pop radio and 'Friends.'        
Only recently on EastEnders, Dot Cotton – played by June Brown – tripped over her pet cat Dave in terrifying scenes. The Walford legend was preparing to head to the Queen Vic pu
Psychiatric Times published a “partial listing” of 47 medical illnesses, ranging from cardiac arrhythmias to pancreatic cancer, that may first present as anxiety.
For weeks, Love Island viewers have been engrossed in the couple’s blossoming relationship. However, it now appears that Jonny and Camilla, sweetly dubbed Jamilla, could soon be coming to an end.
The model shared a photo of the little one, named Jack Oscar.        
Love Island: Dom has annoyed the islanders after he spilled the beans on Jonny and Tyla [ITV] Jonny looks set to dump Camilla on Love Island, as he finally decides to pursue his feelings for Tyla
It's a boy for model-actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and her fiancé, Jason Statham.        
Actress Michelle Rodriguez may be walking away from the film franchise that has kept her gainfully employed for over a decade: the “Fast and the Furious” and its seven sequels.     

Recent News

Woodbine Racetrack is putting in a second turf course

Remember when the 154th Queen’s Plate was supposed to be the last?
Read Full Article

Argos' rookie duo works the buddy system [Photos] [Video]

Brandon Harris and Brandon Washington are childhood friends who share more than just a name.
Read Full Article

Trudeau to have private audience with the Queen ahead of G20 summit

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will meet the prime minister of Ireland and will have a private audience with Queen Elizabeth at the Palace of Holyrood
Read Full Article

Andrew Scheer says he will not appoint independent senators if elected prime minister

Newly minted Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer said that if he is elected prime minister he will abandon the notion of an independent Senate as pursu
Read Full Article

Ocadao supermarket trials driverless van deliveries

Internet-based grocer Ocado teams up with a robotics firm to test driverless deliveries in London.
Read Full Article

Ocado demos driverless delivery van in London

Ocoado's driverless pod is designed to deliver goods but is not big enough for the weekly shop.
Read Full Article

Future Energy: LA crystals turn cars into energy source

How California is turning its car problem into a way to make LA greener.
Read Full Article

The most expensive destinations

Miami, Reykjavik are among top 5 most expensive destinations in Bloomberg World Airbnb Cost Index
Read Full Article

Rolls-Royce drivers are a lot younger than you think

The 111-year-old institution takes its sweet time on its stately, half-million-dollar cars
Read Full Article

Popular Finance

 

Martin Shkreli called 'genius' and 'liar' as trial starts

Legal arguments begin in the 'Pharma Bro' trial.        
Read Full Article

When he meets South Korea's president, Trump will be asking for trade concessions and help confronting North Korea

Read Full Article

Homeland Security will tighten airport security - but won't ban laptops

Read Full Article

Destruction of Arkansas' Ten Commandments monument places spotlight on separation of church and state

The 6-foot-tall stone monument engraved with the Ten Commandments — a capstone of sorts to years of debate in Arkansas over the separation of church and state – was erected with little pomp on the
Read Full Article

Homeland Security tightens screening for all flights from abroad — but won’t ban laptops

Homeland Security officials announced stricter passenger screening and other tougher security measures Wednesday for all commercial flights entering the United States, but said they would not bar
Read Full Article

L.A. City Council takes first step to make evictions harder

If a landlord wants to evict a tenant, the process can be simple. In many cases in Los Angeles, and across California, property owners only have to state they are ending the lease. No justificatio
Read Full Article

A woman got 'lamb fat' injected into her buttocks; now she needs major reconstructive surgery

Wanting "bigger and plump" buttocks, a woman sought the assistance of a beautician from Monterey Park -- and ended up needing major reconstructive surgery.
Read Full Article

Evacuations ordered as brush fire burns near homes in Burbank

Authorities issued mandatory evacuation orders in Burbank on Wednesday afternoon as a brush fire burned close to homes in the Verdugo Mountains above a neighborhood there. The fire was burning in
Read Full Article

Senate health bill would leave Medi-Cal with $115-billion shortfall through 2027, analysis finds

The Senate healthcare bill released last week would leave California short $115 billion for its Medi-Cal program between 2020 and 2027, according to a state analysis released Wednesday. The Medi-C
Read Full Article