Over the past few weeks, people have been posting photos on social media comparing themselves to animated characters, so when 18-year-old Angel took a few selfies and noticed a resemblance to Princess Yue from the show Avatar: The Last Airbender, she tweeted the pictures.
On Twitter, she got love from her followers, but then her photos went viral. Her selfies were shared by a fan page on Instagram, and the responses were entirely the opposite.
"Every third comment would be something about my race or me being too dark," Angel told BuzzFeed News. She said, "It made me wonder why the response for Black cosplayers or dark skin Black girls are so different from others."
Angel said she tweeted the response a white cosplayer received to compare it to her own, and that went viral too because people noticed the massive difference.
She said, "I got a lot of nice comments but I also of course got harassed and insulted by some people, which is to be expected.
"Especially as a dark skin Black woman getting attention from the internet."
One of the people sending her support included the director of the show, Giancarlo Volpe who told her she was perfect. He also tweeted her, "I got you, Yue."
After that, Angel said, "Everyone who was saying I wasn't Yue or just insulting my looks could no longer say anything. I was hereby approved by the director."
Yue is Inuit/Native American and some commenters questioned whether Angel could compare herself to the character.
Angel said her photo doesn't erase Yue's ethnic background. "Obviously, I can't literally be the "canon Yue" because I'm not of Inuit or Native American heritage," she said. "But the sentiment and the reassurance from the director and tons of other people were so nice."
People showered Angel with compliments and agreed that she looked amazing.
Although Angel wasn't cosplaying, her tweet and the response it received opened up a debate about the way Black cosplayers, and especially dark-skinned cosplayers, are treated.
Angel said she's glad that her experience led to that discussion.
"Many people don't know about the discrimination that dark skin people face when comparing themselves to a character or cosplaying," she said.
She said the experience was eye-opening for a lot of people. Angel said, "Some people have told me I was an inspiration and others said my Yue story had made their day. And that's all I want."
She added: "I want to bring joy to others as well as be the voice that they may not have."