Over the last decade Atlanta’s reputation as a hub for fandom and geek culture has grown. Much of this growth is driven by the success of major conventions like DragonCon and MomoCon as well as the presence of major Hollywood film and television production teams around the city. Co-founders Tolden Williams, aka Troop Brand and his wife, Stephanie Lindo Williams, still felt like there was something missing, especially when it came to nightlife. So as the peak of the pandemic faded, they created Trap Sushi, an incredibly popular bimonthly celebration of anime, music, Japanese culture, food, and, of course, Atlanta itself.
“We used to always hang out up and down Edgewood Avenue in Atlanta, and visit the performance venues, clubs, and bars, but when Covid hit, all the places that we really enjoyed in Atlanta shut down,” said Stephanie, reflecting on the loss of major entertainment businesses and spaced during the pandemic. “We would just watch them topple one by one. So when everything started opening up, we knew there was a void now. So we were like, ‘Let’s throw something ourselves.’”
Stephanie and Tolden were particularly interested in establishing a space for fellow anime fans looking for fun activities to do year round.
Stephanie shared, “For anime, you do have MomoCon, Anime Weekend Atlanta, and other cons, but those are only once a year, unless you travel across the country to other conventions. We wanted something recurring here in Atlanta.”
Both Stephanie and Tolden had their own unique story of how they got into fandom, and how it’s impacted their lives. For Stephanie she grew up in Atlanta with friends who were already into anime and Japanese culture.
Thinking back on her youth, Stephanie said, “My best friends growing up are Vietnamese, and they were really into anime and manga. So that’s how I was exposed growing up, and I was watching a bunch of girly high school anime and reading Chobits and stuff like that. I’ve just kept at it over the years.”
Tolden’s environment in Mississippi was quite different from Stephanies coming from a smaller town.
Thinking back to his youth, Tolden said “My first introduction to anime was watching cartoons on Saturday morning. I later found out many were anime. I then went to a thrift shop with my mom, and something drew me to this VHS tape in the store. It turned out to be Akira, which is one of the first Japanese movies to break out in America.”
When asked if Tolden felt alone in his love of anime in his hometown, he replied “I definitely did until I came across other fans. It’s funny how your love for things will introduce you to others and create bonds. I found two other people who were into anime like I was, and they are still my closest friends to this day.”
This sense of community found through fandom, and especially anime conventions, was a key driver for Stephanie and Tolden in creating Trap Sushi.
Tolden recalled, “Stephanie took me to my first anime con Anime Weekend Atlanta. I’d never gone to an anime convention in my life, but I’ve been an avid reader of manga and watcher of anime for years. So at my first convention I’m mind blown. This is everything I love all in one place? How long has this been going on? It was very surprising. Then I’m like wait, this is only once a year? No this is not [often] enough.”
Now Trap Sushi welcomes hundreds of fellow anime fans to celebrate their love of all things anime and Japanese culture. In the process of hosting Trap Sushi events, Stephanie and Tolden recognized they were serving a major sub-community in fandom as well.
Stephanie noted “Trap Sushi is open to everybody. It’s all inclusive. But we have noticed that the community it really speaks to a lot is the black anime and cosplay community. That’s a whole sub-community to itself that kind of gets overlooked sometimes, and I know that group found a lot of solace in having a place where they can let go and be like ‘ok, here at Trap Sushi we can really get loose and be free.’”
Photo: @jsncamera for Trap Sushi
Read full story https://cosplayinamerica.com/trap-sushi-atlanta-ga/.
Trap Sushi’s next event is this Thursday 3/23/23 in Atlanta https://shor.by/doEW
Writer : Michael “Zippy” Miller for Cosplay in America
Disclaimer: All images and videos used, do not belong to FnC and belong to their respective owners.
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