Black Girls Create is a hub for intersectional and critical fandom. We strive to create spaces for Black folks to gather, create, and celebrate their fandom. In doing so, we’ve taken our mission and message into real-world spaces. We’ve attended several conventions, bringing content with us and meeting a lot of you all. We do this because we want to go where our people are and encourage them to create worlds where they otherwise wouldn’t see themselves.
This has included attending LeakyCon for the past 4 years. We’ve provided hours of content in the form of panels (including some mainstage content), often measurably more than our fellow creators who were promoted as special guests at the convention. We organized a Potterheads of Color meet-up each year, desiring to create a space for Black and POC Potterheads within this undeniably white space. As we’ve attended, we have seen the number of Black Potterheads at the convention increase year to year. This has filled us with joy and a sense of accomplishment after these events.
LeakyCon and Mischief Management have responded to recent events, claiming their community to be a safe and welcoming space. We as Black fans and creators have not experienced this. We worked hard to try and cultivate those safe spaces within their convention because they didn’t exist for Black people when we arrived. In our efforts, we continued to meet a lot of resistance, most recently in the form of scheduling our gatekeeping in fandom panel against the mainstage Potter podcasting panel (of which #WizardTeam was not invited to be on) to cross scheduling our own live show with the opening ceremony.
In order to truly be a “safe and welcoming space,” you must first be accessible to the communities who need that space. We have reached out to Mischief Management multiple times, as members of staff and as concerned “community” members, about how they can improve their outreach and accessibility to these communities, only to be paid in lip service and no follow-through.
In 2019 for both Dallas and Boston, we contributed a total of 30 hours of programming and beyond a complimentary pass (which is offered to all panelists), we were provided with no help or resources regarding travel, food, or lodging. Despite our highly praised convention content, consistent presence in the fandom, and observable impact on the convention, we continued to be offered minimal support, if any. They did, however, appreciate our presence enough to regularly utilize our photos in promotional material without crediting us individually or our organization. This drew more Black Potterheads to LeakyCon while the convention itself continued to provide no support for our or additional programming beyond what we provided to create said space for this audience.
Moving forward, we’ve decided to prioritize putting our time, effort, and money into conventions and spaces that appreciate what we bring as Black fans and creators. We will not be attending future Mischief events for the time being. We hope in the future that LeakyCon and Mischief Management do put in the work to cultivate these spaces themselves, hiring more POC on staff, and listening to their critiques. Black Potterheads deserve a place to fan out just like any other.
To anyone who found us through LeakyCon and enjoyed our content, we hope to see you next con season in good health and ready to talk critically about fandom at other conventions.
The Black Girls Create Team