Alamo City Comic Con is under fire after photos of an emcee in blackface have been shared online.
While hosting a cosplay contest on Saturday during the three-day con, Travis Lara dressed up as the fictional pop star Powerline from Disney's A Goofy Movie
. This is what the cartoon character looks like. This is also what a person who is not dark skinned looks like as Powerline without doing blackface.
Note that Powerline, like the rest of the characters in the 1995, are not human. The character does have have darker complexion than Goofy and his son Max, as well as most of the other characters, but that's besides the point.
This is how Lara dressed up as Powerline.
Bio for Travis Lara, also known as MC CyanNide
Lara's mother Laura Lara, known as Nana Cosplay, is also active in the cosplay community and served as a judge in the contest. Though she's since deleted the post, Mama Lara took to Facebook to apologize on behalf of her son, saying he "did his makeup with love for the character."
She also said that she didn't expect people to be upset by the costume.
"I do want to assure you that neither I nor my son felt that this was blackface," Laura Lara wrote. She said that both think of Powerline as a cartoon dog, not as an African-American. While Goofy and his pals in the film are all different breeds of dogs, Powerline's singing is voiced by Tevin Campbell, an African-American.
Here's Laura Lara's now-deleted apology:
I wanted to reach out to you in regards to the Powerline MC. I hope you that I do not take your comments or feelings lightly. My son Travis was the MC for ACCC and he did his makeup with love for the character. He is a certified theater teacher and used 2 shades of brown with muzzle to copy the dog face. He certainly meant no disrespect, in fact at UT he was on the step team and received an Essence Award for most spirited freshman from his teammates. Looking at the photo and your comments, I can see your point , but though voiced by a black actor, Travis saw it as a dog character. Since I ran the show, I take full responsibility and offer you an apology. This is an issue that has come up in cosplay before when doing live characters, but I really didn't anticipate this reaction. I have been cosplaying for 11 years and volunteered to run this show. None of the judges or others who worked to put the show on received any compensation other than admittance. When I took the position my one hope was to make the costume contest one that SA could be proud of using International Costumer Guild standards. Obviously, I failed in that regard. As show runner I take full responsibility, but I do want to assure you that neither I nor my son felt that this was blackface. Again I offer my sincere apologies
For many, though, the damage is already done. In the days since pictures of Lara's cosplay has been shared, many social media users didn't hold back from criticizing his makeup choice.
Some also criticized ACCC for not checking Lara's cosplay.
Con organizers have since issued an apology:
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