ATLANTA, Ga. (WJBF) – It’s a 90’s kid’s dream come true as people of all ages got to be in the same building with their favorite superheroes of that decade: The Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.
Folks from all walks of life came dressed up as their favorite Power Ranger or pop culture icon from hit shows and movies including The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Nickelodeon’s All That.
Celebrating its third year of existence, the Ranger Stop And Pop Atlanta included a three-day event of nostalgia for the young and the young at heart.
Patrons had the opportunity to meet the celebrities, take photos, participate in panel discussions, and enjoy sharing a good laugh as they watched their iconic heroes play games which is what makes this con different from all the rest.
“I just kept telling them, ‘Guys, we need to a con; we need to do a con,’ but I wanted it to be a Ranger con but also a pop con so that’s where you get RangerStop and Pop,” Karan Ashley explains. “I really want us to have anime, pop culture, guests as well as Power Rangers. We knew we could ask all our friends, and they would love to come. We knew having it in Atlanta, a city that doesn’t normally bring Power Rangers, they would be more than happy to come. So, we just said, let’s just give it a go, and we are three years later.”
Co-founders Karan Ashley and Nakia Burrise, who also served as the Yellow Mighty Power Ranger and Yellow Zeo and Turbo Rangers respectively teamed up with Michael Buoni, the creator of RangerStop Orlando, to create an experience of a lifetime making them a part of a small collective: Black women who own and operate their own conventions.
“I don’t know very many promoters that are African-American or female so this is huge,” says Nakia Burrise. “It’s a blessing! It’s an absolute blessing! We want to get to MomoCon and DragonCon status at some point. Rangers and pop culture in Atlanta together has not been done so hopefully we can bridge that gap and make it huge out here. But it’s an absolute blessing to be an entrepreneur and be African-American handling this business.”
Not only are these ladies making history as Black female entrepreneurs, other actors who have portrayed Power Rangers over the years understand the impact they have had especially when it comes to those of us who have watched them on our screens growing up.
Selwyn Ward, who portrayed TJ on Power Rangers Turbo and In Space, understood at an early stage the importance of his role especially as the First African-American Red Ranger.
“I think it’s an amazing opportunity, and I think the impact… I get stories a lot, and I really appreciate it,” Selwyn says. “Becoming the first Black leader of the Power Rangers what was interesting to me that there was really no press at all. I expected JET MAGAZINE or EBONY or somebody to be like, ‘Yo! We got a new Black superhero,’ but it never happened. So, what’s interesting is now, I did this skit with Black Nerd that everybody knows but literally that’s what put it on the map. So, all that to say, if you want something done, you may have to do it yourself. But [being the first Black leader of the Power Rangers] is a great honor, and I would say the impact on my life is that I find myself trying to live a certain a way so that I don’t tarnish that after the fact.”
Not only has being a part of “Ranger Nation” impacted the actors who portrayed these iconic characters, but it has also had a major effect on its fans especially the vendors who participate in these types of conventions opening the door for independent authors and content creators including John Robinson, IV, the creator of his own comic book series, SCORPIO.
“Conventions are the top way we get sales by far,” John Robinson, IV explains. “It blows out online sales and to some extent Kickstarters depending on how big the show is.
Robinson advises, “Get out to cons like this. They are very helpful for creators. It helps to build your audience if nothing else. So, you’ll be able to get your book in people’s hands, and you’ll start to become more visual in the community.”
And it’s this community that will ensure the continuation of conventions like Ranger Stop And Pop for generations to come.