Hi! My name is Briana Lawrence, also known as “Brichibi Cosplays.” I am, indeed, a Black Girl Nerd. I’ve been playing video games since I was 6 years old and have been into anime since I was 10. This was back in the 80s and 90s when these things were still very new. So being a girl gamer and anime geek was one thing, but being a black girl gamer and anime geek was seen as some sort of rare entity. Sometimes, I feel like we’re still seen as a huge surprise in the geek community when, in reality, there are a bunch of black women who love video games, anime, comic books, sci fi, and other fun, geeky things.
I’ve been cosplaying since 2004 after discovering it at my first anime convention in 2002. I still remember my reaction to see people walking around as Gundam pilots, Sailor scouts, and Vash the Stampede. I was so amazed to see that this was a thing that people did and I wanted to join in on the fun. My partner is the one who makes my costumes and she’s the one who introduced me to the world of cosplay since she was starting to cosplay herself.
Outside of cosplay I’m a freelance writer. Currently, I write blog posts and do social media work for a company called Nimble Media.
Here is an excerpt from Brichibi Rants about my experiences in cosplay:
As a plus sized, black cosplayer, part of me always has this “on guard” mentality when it comes to cosplay. You hear so many horror stories of people being made fun of, so I kind of have this portion of my brain that’s just waiting for the day when someone says something. Honestly, this isn’t just because of the horror stories of cosplay. This is just from living life. Being plus sized, being black, being female, being in a relationship with a woman, those are all things that people can — and do — poke at. I don’t have a tragic background of always being bullied growing up, but things have been said that still brings out that paranoid voice when I’m about to share my cosplay. “Someone is going to have something to say that’s going to hurt your feelings.”
I also work to schedule convention appearances for my partner and I with our small business, “Sewn Together Reflections,” where we sell the crafts we make and the books we’ve had published. I also edit books for Damnation Books/Eternal Press. Currently, I have three books published: “Treat Me Kindly,” an urban supernatural murder mystery, “Double Hue,” a gay romance murder mystery, and “Seeking the Storyteller,” a young adult urban supernatural adventure series. I also have a gay romance short story published by “Dreamspinner Press,” and will also have another short story and Christmas story by them later. I’ve done a lot of writing for different websites that range from anime and manga reviews, video game reviews, and opinion pieces about cosplay and the geek community.
So, essentially, I spend my adult life enjoying my nerd life.