I've been to comic and anime conventions before. I've even been to a convention in a majority Black city. Nothing I've experienced at a con before could have prepared me for what it would be like attending BlerDCon. I only found out about it in 2018 after reading about someone else's experience and I was determined to see for myself. Once the post-COVID dates were announced I made plans and was able to attend.
The excitement was palpable across social media as the date came closer and closer. People announced cosplay lineups, shared travel plans, and coordinated shoots. Events and panels were scheduled as attendees figured out what they wanted to do and who they wanted to see. Everyone was ready for the con experience again. It had been too long since we were really able to be around our people.
The lobby was already buzzing with people saying hi and meeting up during check in. There were people already congregating, suitcases and bags in hand. Con-goers were so excited to see each other they barely wanted to get settled first. The anticipation for the coming days could be felt. Plans and schedules were coordinated as attendees spent the evening connecting and socializing. There was an atmosphere of family and belonging even among strangers. There were no awkward moments or judgement, just good times all around.
Friday kicked off the con and the turnout was huge. The registration line was wrapped up an escalator and snaked through the lobby a majority of the day. Cosplayers flaunted their work and struck poses for those hoping for pics. The excitement in the air could be felt as more and more con-goers arrived and got their badges. Putting on my Raven cosplay and walking around felt so right. Cosplaying in your living room is not nearly the same as seeing others dressed in your same fandom and getting group pictures or children running up like you're a real superhero.
While working at the table for Black Cosplay Boosters I got to meet so many of the members who followed the pages or recognized it from social media. It was fun letting people who hadn't heard of BCB know what the group is about and how to support. I love working for the group, so being able to spread the word face to face was different. The Blerdcon comedy show was amazing. Each one of The comics had the whole room in tears. Just knowing that everyone could relate made it that much better.
Saturday brought more people and more to do with a full day of activities. One of the more popular events included a sing along panel. For an hour it was a room full of blerds belting out some classics like "Friend Like Me" from Aladdin and "Eye to Eye" from A Goofy Movie. The harmony and energy was unmatched. The same happened with "Can't Wait to be King" from Lion King and Hamilton. Seeing AfroCocoa Puffs perform "She Gon Be Black Today" was easily a top highlight. The entire party was screaming the lyrics right along with her. Sunday was very chill and wound down as people said their goodbyes and prepared to get back to normal. The post-con depression loomed with every passing minute.
BlerDCon is now my favorite convention ever. It was worth traveling out of state for a convention, especially post-pandemic. I've never felt this level of belonging at any convention. I can't speak on how it was before but this year was executed well and I can't wait to attend without needing a mask and vaccine to enter. I'm truly grateful for this safe space created for us by us. That's what this weekend was, a space to celebrate who we are as blerds and come together to be our true selves. No matter what you've heard or how you feel about anything that was said after the con I recommend everyone attends at least once. It's too important not to support at least once.