The inaugural Universal FanCon is pitching itself as “the first large-scale, 24-hour, inclusive event that celebrates the diversity of fans, the diversity of fandom and the true needs of those who love pop culture.”
This year’s event will help benefit and promote relevant causes, including Geek Club Books Charity for Autism.
Hosted in Baltimore, Maryland, April 27-29, 2018, FanCon believes its mission is to create a sense of belonging by providing authentic connections and experiences through fan-centric parties, programs, panels and partners. As an important part of this mission, FanCon is intending to build accessibility and education into every aspect of the programming to make certain it is a disability- and autism-friendly event.
“Universal FanCon is more than just a new Geek convention” says co-founder Robert Butler. “It’s an event where all fans of pop culture are being celebrated, represented and included during every step of the way: through our planning, our attendees, programs, parties, celebrity guests and unique experiences.”
FanCon got its start during a dinner conversation in 2016 between Butler, his partners in the Black Geeks podcast, and Jamie Broadnax, founder of Black Girl Nerds.
“We’re all big geeks and realized, for instance, that people of color have the same complaints as other minority groups and marginalized populations when it came to representation in the celebration of fandoms” says Butler. “Hispanics, African Americans and Asians make up 38 percent of our population and 49 percent of frequent moviegoers – and they are more likely to see a movie featuring characters to whom they can relate. So, we knew there was a need that we could fill!”
“We wanted to create a safe space that celebrated fandom differently by including the many different faces and voices that truly made up the groups, artists, affiliates, and brands that we all represented, such as women, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, autistic community, and people of color” said Jamie Broadnax.
“The inclusion and accessibility mission of FanCon is why Geek Club Books got involved with this inaugural event” said Jodi Murphy, President of Geek Club Books, an autism nonprofit. “Autistic representation and inclusion in pop culture, media and the community-at-large is what we’ve been advocating for!”
“The people and fandoms we are representing, the support we are getting from the city of Baltimore and the committed team we’ve been able to build are all testaments to how important and relevant an event such as FanCon is today” says Butler.
Yetide Badaki, Demore Barnes (actor), Steve Blum (voice of Wolverine), Big Daddy Kane, Bit Brigade, Mehcad Brooks, Kim Chi, DJ-Jo (DJ), DJ NightCrawler (DJ/musician), Terri Doty (voice actress), Aydian Dowling, Ducky Dynamo (DJ/musical artist), Heavygrinder (DJ/producer/vocal duo), Jamal Igle (comic artist/writer), Orlando Jones, Riyadh Khalaf, Saori Kobayashi, Phil LaMarr, Bruce Langely (American Gods), Mega Ran, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn (Star Wars: Rebels), Sumalee Montano, Kristian Nairn, Greg Pak, Professor Shy Guy (music artist), Sammus (rapper/producer), Regine Sawyer (Women in Comics Collective), Peter Shinkoda (Falling Skies), Katy Sullivan, TeddyLoid, Triforce Quartet, Jeffrey Veregge (Native American comic book artist), Voia (producer/singer), Jeremy Whitley (comic series writer), Ricky Whittle, Billy Dee Williams, Fryda Wolff, Yuriko Yamaguchi.
Affiliates, partners and attendees include,
Baltimore Convention Center, 3 Black Geeks, Black Girl Nerds, BlerdGurl, ClexaCon, Comic Attack, CrunchyRoll, DC Anime Club, DeAnn Cox Chronicles, Disability Visibility Project, FanBros, Funimation, Geek Club Books for Autism, Geek Soul Brother, GeekGirlCon, Geeks of Color, Gifted Sounds Network, Graveyard Shift Sisters, Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor, Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor, I Need Diverse Games, LatinxGeeks, Marriott Inner Harbor Camden Yards, MEGASHEEN, Nerds of Color, Nerds of Prey, Pink Banana, Ramp Your Voice, Renaissance Harborplace, Shepard, Sheraton Inner Harbor, The Black Geeks, The Black Tribbles, Visit Baltimore, and more.
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