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Dream Con uplifts POC anime community

By Maya Palavali

Dream Con attendees pose
Dream Con attendees pose in signature character stances with themed costumes. / Photo: Maya Palavali

The exhibition hall buzzed with excited chatter as people in detailed costumes of all shapes and sizes walked through rows of stalls while events for attendees to meet their favorite content creators happen simultaneously.

RDCWorld 1, a famous entertainment platform, hosted the Dream Convention on July 15-17 at the Anime & Gaming Convention center in Arlington. Pairing with the AT&T Stadium, the event celebrated anime and gaming in the POC community.

Standing for “Real dreamers change the world,” Mark Phillips of RDCWorld 1 created the annual convention to celebrate art forms such as comics, cosplay and pop culture in a safe space alongside other social media creators.

“It’s very diverse in what they have; they have a little of everything,” Dream Con volunteer Maleka Payne Teferi said. “They have content creators sharing their tricks of the trade.”

Dream Con officially kicked off with a fun filled schedule from 2 p.m.-10 p.m.

Activities included gaming tournaments, artist galleries, cosplay contests and more.

Cassie Small
Cassie Small, creator of themed terrarium shop Random Smash, poses behind a booth on Saturday at Anime & Gaming Convention in Central Texas. / Photo: Maya Palavali

“I actually feel more comfortable here than the bigger ones,” Dream Con attendee Amber Byrd said. “It’s a little smaller and has a better vibe.”

Dream Con had many safety precautions to ensure the convention was COVID-19 free. The event had a limited registration and was quickly sold out in March, highlighting its popularity.

“I like how they do have a limit on people because it just gets too crowded otherwise,” voice actress Dani Chambers said.

What sets apart Dream Con from other conventions is its comfortable atmosphere and active effort to uplift minority voices, especially the Black community. The event was tailored to the celebration of all cultures, rather than just a select few.

“It’s nice to see that it’s run by the Black community, and that anime is reached by all cultures,” vendor Vivian Wong said.

In its ability to create a bright environment to bond over shared interests, the convention became exponentially important to POC communities over the past few years.

“It’s Black excellence all around,” voice actor Gabe Kunda said. “It’s really important to have something where you can come see people that look like you and geek out on the same things.”

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