crowtoed submitted to medievalpoc:

This is Maria Christian, my former cast director at the Michigan Renaissance Festival as her character, Princess Isaade M’boukou. Maria’s been designing and wearing African-Elizabethan fusion garb to MiRF for decades, so she has a few different gowns and headpieces in rotation. In addition to her duties keeping the stage acts organized, as Isaade she acts as an impresario at the feasts, talks about West African traditions and folklore, and is much needed and treasured PoC representation on the cast.
Yes, there were Black people in Renaissance Europe
Spring time is the prep season for one of my deepest nerd loves: Renaissance Faires. I’m pulling hand-made dresses out of storage, mending linen shirts, scouring local thrift stores for baskets and metal plates. As I enter this season again, I think of all the things I wish I’d known when I started, the words of encouragement I wish someone had given me. Maybe you’ve always been interested in Renaissance Faires. Maybe you want to know more about them. Maybe you need these words of support to give something new a try.

Dear me,

You’ve always loved history. Regardless of geography or blood, knowing how the past functioned, not in dates and names but in daily details, has always been fascinating. So this is not unknown ground for you. And Renaissance Faires are fun: spending the day outside, geeking endlessly about the minutia of history with other like-minded folk, doing hands on demonstrations for kids. There’s nothing here you don’t like.

Sure, you may be the only Black person there, definitely one of a few, but don’t let that stop you. The chances of anyone throwing rocks at you are low. The chances of anyone laughing at you are high, but when has that stopped you before? […]

 Some will try to tell you that you are wrong, out of time, out of place. They are wrong. African people have always been travelers, traders, and scholars. The Mediterranean has never been impenetrable and we have always been everywhere.

Their ignorance is not the truth.

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