“No one is going to stop me from playing,”
June 10, 2019 6:19 AM   Subscribe

Striving to be seen: Black Girl Gamers on Twitch [BGG] “BGG has nearly 6,000 followers on Twitter and more than 4,000 followers on Twitch, and it's been featured in publications including Blavity, BBC Radio 4 and Vice's Broadly. BGG partners with other organizations, such as Intel's AnyKey, to support inclusivity efforts on all sides of video game development and consumption. "We really want to work with game developers to be able to represent the community more accurately," Lopez said. "To be able to represent the community not just as a token, as well, but also get people -- young, black girls -- into coding."” [via: Engadget]

• 'We Need to Have Our Stories': The Black Girl Gamers Fighting for Inclusion [Vice Gaming]
“Lopez, an author and blogger, said she created Black Girl Gamers "for selfish reasons, to be honest." "For one," she explains, "I didn't have many women or men or friends who were on my feed that I could play with… The people that I did play with would make jokes that I didn't appreciate as a woman, or I didn't appreciate as a black woman." The global gaming audience is estimated to be around 2.6 billion—and it's only growing. But its representation of people of color leaves a lot to be desired. Black protagonists are few and far between in games, and those that do exist tend to be based on racial stereotypes, like the muscly sidekick or the drug-pushing hustler.”
• I'm a black woman gamer and people still look at me like I'm a unicorn [W24]
“I'm 24 and I love video games. The first reaction to this statement usually goes along the lines of, “Wena? Really? Yoh, why games?” Or my favourite, “Wow, your boyfriend is a lucky guy!” [...] As a woman, there is this almost unwritten expectation for you to prove yourself as a “true” gamer. You get comments like, “Do you even know what you’re doing?” I dread the online gaming space, which has been known for its discrimination (women receive the bulk of it) and misogyny. I recently met a black woman in gaming, Limpho Moeti, who is a part of the South African independent game development studio called Free Lives. I was so excited to see someone who looked like me and loved games too. I believe that more black girls are waiting for the same moment. Most black women and girls that I meet are surprised that gaming could even be something they could find fun to do; I mean, aren’t there better things to be doing with your time?”
• Here Are the Black Women in Gaming to Look Out For [Black Girl Nerds]
“It seems like gaming communities just don’t think Black women are in their target audience. That’s not true. We’ve always been there. We wear the merchandise, play the games, and support creators. And now, we’re starting to become more vocal. Black women recognize that there aren’t many spaces that accept us with open arms, so we create our own. There’s an abundance of creators and communities that celebrate Black women in gaming. It’s easy to be discouraged in the gaming community as a Black woman, but that shouldn’t stop us from participating. So many of us love gaming and want to find a way to talk about it. Sometimes it just feels like we have to put it away. We shouldn’t have to feel like that. There are spaces where we can feel safe amongst one another, talking about the one thing we all love.”
• These black women gamers teamed up to take on the worst online trolls [Fast Company]
““You’re never going to catch every troll or every racist person that writes a dumb comment on somebody’s stream,” Harris said. “But, as long as they feel like nothing is going to happen, there’s not going to be a reason for them to stop.” Black Girl Gamers has its own Twitch channel where viewers can watch its members live-stream a host of different games like Oxygen Not Included, Don’t Starve Together, Apex Legend, and King’s Landing. Its members work together to moderate each other’s streams and for the official Twitch page. BGG also has community standards similar to its Facebook group that it requires its viewers to abide by. A note on BGG’s Twitch page says its “ban hand is strong,” a small warning to anyone looking to cause trouble on their profile. Proactive messaging, teamwork, and a survey are just a few tools Black Girl Gamers use to hold individual users accountable, but these tactics highlight a strained trust in gaming companies and developers as a whole.”
• Why Black Girl Gamers Matter [Blavity]
“Beyond the frequent interactions I have on social media with gamers who look like me, there are also several online spaces that help cater to and cultivate the Black girl gaming community. Groups like Official Black Girl Gamers and Thumbstick Mafia draw huge engagement and are necessary platforms. These groups, and the discussions we have among them, have brought me a great sense of community, support, and a safe space to ask questions and discuss the gaming industry without bigoted backlash. [...] These groups remind us time and again that Black girl gamers deserve to be seen because we exist, we’re very active, and deserve to be seen in a positive light. More Black female protagonists (and protagonists of color, for that matter) should be available --- and there shouldn’t be much debate about this. Is it such a bad thing for the main character to be anyone other than a white male?”
posted by Fizz (8 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Also, if anyone has specific #BGG streamers they want to share here, please do. I'm all about amplifying their voices/streams so that more people in the gaming community are made aware that these spaces exists and that they're filled with badass women.
posted by Fizz at 6:52 AM on June 10, 2019 [6 favorites]

Are black women (at least occasional) streamers who don't seem to use #BGG an appropriate response to that?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 7:19 AM on June 10, 2019

Sylvia Gathoni Wahome is not your regular law student, she has made history by becoming the first Kenyan pro gamer to be signed to a reputable eSports club. Known in gaming circles as Queenarrow or malikasiheme98 on PSN, Wahome was recruited by US-based outfit XiT Woundz. According to Wahome, she was contacted by the team shortly after she took part in a Tekken 254 tournament in Nairobi. She is the first female pro gamer in Kenya and Africa to be recruited by the team and is the first esports pro gamer in Kenya and East Africa to receive a sponsorship from a globally recognized esports brand.
posted by hugbucket at 7:33 AM on June 10, 2019 [4 favorites]

Are black women (at least occasional) streamers who don't seem to use #BGG an appropriate response to that?

I, for one, would definitely consider them to be within the spirit of the thread.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:45 AM on June 10, 2019 [1 favorite]

I'm a fan of Da Purple Sharpie; I met her a couple of years ago when she was interested in using a League of Legends tool I'd written. Mostly for her hustle. She's built a business out of streaming fighting games, particularly Skullgirls, and works hard at both her brand and organizing groups of gamers. She's also hilarious on stream.

I see Reddit has a /r/blackgirlgamers; it's not very high traffic but seems to also be a decent place. I'm a big fan of lurking on /r/girlgamers, the discussions there are great.
posted by Nelson at 7:50 AM on June 10, 2019 [6 favorites]

Oh, hell yes. Thank you. I'm especially glad for Nelson's recommendation above. It turns out Sharpie is one of the main streamers at a place my 16yo son goes for local tournaments. Small world. I'm so glad this exists.
posted by selfmedicating at 8:13 AM on June 10, 2019

I was thinking of the author NK Jemisin, who streams sometimes; I mostly remember her doing some Mass Effect
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 9:59 AM on June 10, 2019 [3 favorites]

That's definitely cool to know. Thanks for sharing that with us GCU Sweet and Full of Grace.
posted by Fizz at 10:49 AM on June 10, 2019

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