What: Wicomicon, a one-day pop-up convention created by The Nerds of Color, Black Heroes Matter and theblerdgurl and other partners as a space for people from groups that are traditionally pushed to the margins of the culture geek community. An announcement explained that its name came from Algonquin words that translate to, “a place where homes are built.”

Where: 1100 Wicomico Street in Baltimore, Maryland.

When: Saturday, April 28, 2018. 

Why: Wicomicon arose as a replacement event for Universal Fan Con, a convention with a similar focus on fan culture and inclusion that was supposed to take place at the Baltimore Convention Center from April 27-29. Organizers of that event announced on April 20 that it would be indefinitely postponed. A later statement pointed to a lack expected funding from tickets and sponsorships as the reason. The Baltimore Sun reported that the announcement’s timing, as well as a perceived lack of transparency in explaining the cancellation, prompted widespread criticism from prospective attendees, vendors and speakers. 

Some of the backlash centered on Black Girl Nerds founder and convention booster Jamie Broadnax, who stepped down from her editor-in-chief role at the site after facing outrage over her perceived attempts to distance herself from the situation. Broadnax blamed Thai Pham, a co-organizer with a demonstrated history of heading financially doomed events, for the financial shortfall in a statement to The Root:

“Thai Pham told me that the organizers had run up nearly $400,000 in unpaid expenses,” Broadnax wrote. “I received an email from Hyatt, who was leasing the convention space to FanCon, stating that over $70,000 was owed by the close of business Friday, April 20. This led me to ask more questions. Unfortunately, none of the organizers are answering my calls now. I’m in the dark as much as anyone else at this point.”

Who: Featured speakers at Wicomicon included “Luke Cage” creator and showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker and #OscarsSoWhite creator April Reign. But these cosplayers of color stole the show: