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How Many Black Guests Are There at Anime Conventions?


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Brainchild129



Joined: 09 Aug 2011
Posts: 260
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 1:55 pm Reply with quote
I'm concerned with how many of the staff members quoted used some variation of "we have a diverse staff" as an excuse. It's good that their staff reflects the diversity of the real world, but if those people aren't the ones making the decisions about the guests then it doesn't make much of a difference.

The same goes for pawning the decision off on attendee demand. A huge public response (particularly one where the data is seldom public, as these sorts of things typically are) doesn't count for much when staff can heed or ignore it as they see fit. The change, as always, has to come from the inside.
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
Posts: 3830
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 2:28 pm Reply with quote
What does that first Tweet mean?
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Rentwo



Joined: 05 Oct 2019
Posts: 65
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:04 pm Reply with quote
MarshalBanana wrote:
What does that first Tweet mean?


It means cons are constantly asked to book black guests, but they don't bring in money like other guests do so they don't. Most of the biggest voice actors, content creators, and community members in the anime community are either Asian or white so if it came down to inviting Team Fourstar or a black YouTuber with only 100K subscribers, they'll probably opt for the former. Maybe he worded it a bit too bluntly and was being confrontational but the logic makes sense. It's true they can book whoever they want, but it sounds like people were telling him to book people regardless of their popularity and to willingly take the financial hit for moral reasons.
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MarshalBanana



Joined: 31 Aug 2014
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:10 pm Reply with quote
Rentwo wrote:
MarshalBanana wrote:
What does that first Tweet mean?


It means cons are constantly asked to book black guests, but they don't bring in money like other guests do so they don't. Most of the biggest voice actors, content creators, and community members in the anime community are either Asian or white so if it came down to inviting Team Fourstar or a black YouTuber with only 100K subscribers, they'll probably opt for the former. Maybe he worded it a bit too bluntly and was being confrontational but the logic makes sense. It's true they can book whoever they want, but it sounds like people were telling him to book people regardless of their popularity and to willingly take the financial hit for moral reasons.
I mean the part that sasy, We get tagged and constantly requested to book sexual predators and popular asshole divas.
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octopodpie
ANN Managing Editor


Joined: 02 May 2011
Posts: 1950
Location: Washington State
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:18 pm Reply with quote
It's a pretty obvious allusion to Vic Mignogna. If that's the topic you want to discuss more, you should head to the thread about his tweets. It's not really the point of this piece.
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bennyl



Joined: 06 Apr 2019
Posts: 79
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 3:58 pm Reply with quote
Book a famous black anime fan like Mike Daniels or Geno Atkins and people will probably have interest. But other than Beau Billingslea, I'm not paying to see a random black voice actor just so I can raise my social credit score.
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PatrickD



Joined: 03 Dec 2003
Posts: 86
Location: California
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 4:01 pm Reply with quote
Quote:
To gather data on Black guests at the top anime conventions in North America, I used the 2019 guest lists from Anime Expo, Anime Matsuri, A-Kon, Anime North, Anime Weekend Atlanta, Anime Central, Anime Boston, Sakura-Con, Otakon, Youmacon, Otakuthon, and Anime NYC. Crunchyroll Expo doesn't release a “warm bodies” attendee count, making it hard to tell where it sits in the overall ranking, but I included it as well.

If you wanted the "top anime conventions in North America", you wasted your time looking at Anime Matsuri. Recent documents have revealed that their attendance numbers, as many have suspected for years, are vastly inflated...so how it might rank on a list of "largest" conventions might need to be adjusted. As for how it should rank on a list of "top" anime convention (implying quality)...I don't think it should be on that list at all due to its terrible reputation that prevents it from booking any North American voice actor (except Vic, naturally.)
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Psycho 101
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Joined: 14 Aug 2006
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Location: Inn of the Last Home
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:27 pm Reply with quote
A few trollish posts are already gone. Any further "who cares", "this is so stupid", or anything of the sort will be removed without question. If you don't care about this sort of topic then that's fine, move on to something you do care about. Trolling the discussion with ignorant or bigoted comments however will not be tolerated.
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Romuska
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Joined: 02 Mar 2004
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 5:38 pm Reply with quote
I attended Anime Expo and ran into Arthell Isom by pure chance in the exhibit hall, SUPER nice guy. I also encountered the Noir Ceasar booth. I also had no idea LeSean Thomas was at AX until after his event had already passed. As a Black anime fan it's always great to see one of my own succeed in this industry so I really hope they're all invited as proper guests of honor next year.
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TexZero



Joined: 25 Oct 2017
Posts: 336
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 7:42 pm Reply with quote
I think it's a bigger issue than just bringing in old talent.

It might be shortsighted on my part but i can't name more than 4-5 Black talent in the industry. I'm not going to put this on them though, i think it's a bigger issue with the US at large and how little arts/education is funded as well as how little anime at large represent a diverse world. Most of them try to either be etho-agnostic or stick to the bubble of "Japan and Other Asian Regions". Once we see a real push in both overseas production and domestic funding for arts in typically impovrished areas you'll see more chances for PoC to be in the industry at large and that larger pool of talent will mean more to choose from instead of the same 6-10 Funimation / ADV / Sentai Faces at every convention ever.
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NiPah



Joined: 11 Feb 2011
Posts: 138
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 8:11 pm Reply with quote
I want to spread some love for Torrian Crawford, Animation director, MoCap actor, and all around awesome dude over at Rooster Teeth currently working on RVB Zero.
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TexZero



Joined: 25 Oct 2017
Posts: 336
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 9:00 pm Reply with quote
Edit: Context removed due to moderation. There was another post that was taking the first post i made to a very slippery slope. What's below is the response to it.

My point was if and when Japan/Korea/China decide they want to do something major about their story telling that represents the rest of the world and then the US/Other Dubs decide to fix their systemic issues we can finally see proper representation not just of Black, but other races too.

I don't want it to be an act of tokenism, but meaningful parts of the story and world they are building. Take for example Carole and Tuesday. This show did a real good job of having a diverse cast of characters and talent. Unfortunately there's almost no emphasis on the talent portion and if you asked a stranger on the street to name their English VA's there's a good chance they may know Carole's singing VA but they wont be able to tell you who voiced Angela, Ezekiel, Bulldog etc..

It's a multi faced problem with many more steps than just bring a person of color to the show. Dub companies do very little to spotlight their talent and there's substantially less chances for a person of color to fill a role than the other way around due to the material the companies work with.


Last edited by TexZero on Tue Jun 23, 2020 12:02 am; edited 1 time in total
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Cutiebunny



Joined: 18 Apr 2010
Posts: 1493
PostPosted: Mon Jun 22, 2020 10:33 pm Reply with quote
The Article wrote:
Clearly the rest of San Japan's leadership didn't agree with Henkin's approach, as he was removed from his position shortly after the tweets went public. .


Far be it from me to assume what the upper echelon of any convention believes, but as with many companies who fire employees that have made explosive tweets that have gone viral, it's less about their opinion and more about the bad press that the now former employee has created for the brand.

I'd actually go out on a limb here and say that the upper echelon does agree with Henkin's opinion, as do those in charge of guest relations do at all larger conventions. They continually want to bring in guests that will give them the most return on their investment, which is why a certain "popular asshole diva" was continually on guests lists despite it being well known in the community that they had done shady things for at least a decade prior to it blowing up as it did.

My interpretation after having read the article is that the writer feels that this exclusionary behavior is maliciously done by the convention. I don't think there's any malicious intent at all. It's a numbers game. It boils down to who is going to bring in the most revenue for the amount of money spent by the convention to bring that guest to their event. If a convention has a choice between 2 influencers of different ethnicities with roughly the same following, but one lives in the same city while the other lives hundreds of miles away, they're going to opt for the one that is closer as the event won't have to pay for flights. That's just a business decision.

Ultimately, people will vote with their dollar.
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DavetheUsher



Joined: 19 May 2014
Posts: 381
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 12:09 am Reply with quote
bennyl wrote:
Book a famous black anime fan like Mike Daniels or Geno Atkins and people will probably have interest.


That's the elephant in the room. There's not a whole lot of popular black people in the anime community, either actor wise or content creator wise. I sub to quite a few black YouTubers but almost none of them are anime focused. The biggest one I know of is Heavenly Controller, and he also does gaming content. Otherwise the other guys I follow are general entertainers, musicians, or full on gamers. They may mention or do a video on a random mainstream anime they like every once in a while, but it isn't the focus of their channel at all. You'd have to branch out into those realms to find the really popular people, like RDCworld1 or King Vader who are sketch comedians who do skits on anime sometimes.
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AzureWaterDragon



Joined: 23 Jun 2020
Posts: 5
PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 12:24 am Reply with quote
The uncomfortable truth is, for the large segment of otaku who are focused on "Japanese" anime (subtitled, non-localized), there's practically nobody except ethnic Japanese on their radar. The mangaka are Japanese, the producers are Japanese, the Seiyuu are Japanese, the music is usually created by a Japanese artist, and it's released by a Japanese company.

There's really not staff of any other ethnicity involved in mainstream anime/manga production. Sure, some shows are animated in Korea or the Philippines, but I can't see cons bringing over a random contract animator from an outsourcing company.

So what's left? English language voice actors, localisers, musicians, and maybe some people in the business end of overseas distribution. That's really not a large (or particularly interesting) pool of candidates, even before we consider anything beyond job title. I don't know if anyone has done a reliable survey on what percentage of fans prefer subs vs. dubs, but my experience is that the subs crowd dominates at most cons. Which means English language voice actors are already the lesser draw.

This is definitely not to say that we shouldn't be making more of an effort to diversify con guests where possible. There's many diverse cosplayers and panelists who I've had the pleasure of meeting throughout the convention world, and I'm all for giving them more credit. I could name a few amazing black cosplayers who I'm frustrated to say have not been invited to any major cons.

It's an unfortunate problem with no real, clear solution. We can try to bring in black guests from tangential fandoms (American comics, web comics, maybe some video game producers), but that's not really connected to anime, and runs the risk of diluting anime cons to a "general fandom" convention, which is becoming a concern already to some people.
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