Black lives matter. George Floyd, a 46-year-old father of two, was murdered by Derek Chauvin, a white Minneapolis police officer, who kept his knee on the right side of Floyd’s neck for 8 minutes and 46 seconds; 2 minutes and 53 seconds of which occurred after Floyd became unresponsive. To find out how you can take action, head to the Black Lives Matter website.
As an artform, video games are often an escape. However, at a time like this it is vital to be active — to listen and support in any way possible. Many names in the video games industry have taken action to raise money and awareness, and by highlighting just a handful of them I hope that we will all follow their lead.
The Spawn On Me podcast is a video game podcast featuring and spotlighting gamers of colour. Started by Kahlief Adams, their most recent episode focused on the topic, featuring Parris Lilly, PikaChulita, Cameron Hawkins, ZombaeKillz, and Blessing Adeoye Jr. Their discussion is vital, and a good place to start. Kahlief’s work on Spawn On Me is not only funny, entertaining and informative, but also highlights gamers of colour and their stories every single week, and has been since 2014.
— Blessing Adeoye Jr. (@BlessingJr) May 31, 2020
One of the guests on the podcast, Blessing Adeoye Jr. is a host over at Kinda Funny. He has been encouraging the community to donate to the Minnesota Freedom Fund, which led to a huge number of people matching his donations. Not only that, but he is one of the freshest new voices in the industry. He will be hosting Kinda Funny Games Daily every day this week, with guests including Kahlief Adams and Parris Lilly.
Speaking of Parris Lilly, he is a co-host of Gamertag Radio, creating gaming content as well as streaming on Twitch and YouTube. He recently headed-up a discussion on being Black in America, which you can watch below.
Storymode Bae is a Twitch streamer and self-proclaimed lover of a good story in a video game. As well as streaming games, she raises awareness and creates a safe space for her community to engage in chats like the one below.
I wanna thank @storymodebae for giving me an opportunity to express my frustrations on her stream yesterday.
Big ups to this amazing being for NOT being silent and for using her platform to speak out against the blatant racism that’s STILL going on in our country today. pic.twitter.com/jdzKLry708
— Officer Melanin (@OfficerMelanin) May 29, 2020
Andrien Gbinigie is Product Marketing Manager for Ubisoft, currently working on the Watch Dogs series, and was previously a community manager for Assassin’s Creed. He founded the Black Game Pros Mixer at Ubisoft, which brings together Black talent and professionals from the video game and tech industries. As he says in the video below, “truly diverse and inclusive teams help us make the best possible games.”
— Cheddar Esports (@CheddarEsports) February 12, 2020
BlackGirlGamers is an online safe space and platform that heightens the visibility of Black Women in Gaming and advocates for Diversity & Inclusion. They currently have over 6000 members from all over the world, run amazing IRL events, and create online content to support diversity and inclusion in the industry. They are running a wellness week this week while fundraising for the Minnesota Freedom Fund.
In light of all that is happening, we are holding another Wellness Week starting 1st June. We want offer a safe, relaxing space for us to decompress.
— Black Girl Gamers (@blackgirlgamers) May 30, 2020
Shawn Alexander Allen is a game developer who recently released Treachery in Beatdown City for PC and Nintendo Switch, a game where you ‘meet horrible people, fight them, and maybe save the president.’ He did this great interview a while back about the game, as well as this pertinent tweet below.
It's not a coincidence that you fight corrupt, anti-protest, pepper spray happy cops, among other despicable people in my game Treachery in @Beatdown_City
— Shawn Alexander Allen (@aNuChallenger) May 31, 2020
Game Fanatics is a gaming site with a team of diverse content creators founded by Charles Adiukwu, Jr. Game Fanatics have a great YouTube channel, stream on Twitch, and have diversity at the core of what they do. O’Dell Harmon Jr. is a content creator there and has also worked with IGN, GameSpot, and GameInformer.
Josh Boykin is the founder of Intelligame, a community of people who love games and think critically about the world. They have discussions in their Discord, Twitch streams, YouTube videos, and podcasts. He shared some of his thoughts on Intelligame’s most recent Twitch stream.
I strongly encourage you to follow all of these people, to read and listen to them. As Kahlief Adams said during that Spawn On Me episode, when he shares things on social media “it’s not for black people”. It’s for everyone else. Follow them, educate yourself, and get involved. I highly recommend you petition, donate, and support.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but just scratching the surface of vital voices in the gaming community. Please comment with anyone and everyone and I will update this article. Also, any personal earnings from the site will be going directly to the Minnesota Freedom Fund. Black lives matter.