During graduate school, I realized my gaming life was missing something. Being a Black woman online was an experience that often left me wanting many things: safety, community, camaraderie, cultural understanding.
So, you can imagine my elation when, while looking through various platforms and networks to connect with, I came across Black Girl Gamers on Twitter. I followed them for a while, seeing how they stirred up conversations and held fast against the hordes of anime AVI racists on Twitter. I watched how they were unapologetically Black first, something that was super rare in a space where Black content creators often assimilated.
It was that vigor that inspired me to join their Facebook group in 2017; a space where we could exist without having to navigate the discriminations Black Women often face in gaming. I didn’t know what to expect, but it was refreshing to exist in Black Girl Gamers.
Though we’ve grown, it comes as no surprise that Black Girl Gamers keeps a strong focus on Black women, even though our community boasts more than 8,000 members.
Black Girl Gamers
I fell in love with the space. It was so amazing to be surrounded by women who looked like me from all over the world. We would talk about our childhoods, adulthood, dreams, goals, recommendations, advice, and more. A lot of people don’t realize what a fun space this is to be in — memes, jokes, anime nights — but what struck me the most was the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself.
Within my first five years in the community, I moved from being a member, to becoming a Discord moderator, to now being employed as the community manager. I’ve watched the group’s growth as it went from a community to a community-led organization.
I’ve seen how we’ve pushed beyond the boundaries many communities seemed to have, and how we’ve pioneered in so many instances. So, there’s no way I wouldn’t be excited and humbled to be put in charge of community management.
In the past, we’ve curated workshops with various brands, such as Buildbox, Meta, and Adidas, to help our members gain tech and gaming-related skills. And I often ask myself, “How many organizations are actively helping Black women level up in gaming and have been doing so for years?” None.
It’s my job as community manager to continue this legacy of personal development for our members to not only strengthen our community’s presence, but also to encourage our members to see there is no achievement that’s out of their reach.
Paying it forward
Though we started as a community, we’ve expanded just that utility and we’ve expanded our team. Whereas sponsored streams were once our bread and butter, we’ve now added a plethora of ways in which we aim to uplift Black women, such as talent brokering, where last year we put more than $37,000 into the pockets of the talent in our community.
Our Black Girl Gamers Online Summit boasted thousands of viewers as one of the first of its kind, setting a trend for other communities to create their own summits. This is what Black Girl Gamers is all about; challenging the status quo and pioneering progressive solutions in every way we can imagine.
We can’t back down from supporting the development of Black women in the gaming arena. We want to touch every possible area, from the people playing the games, to Black women in the games. From our stories, to the art and coding.
Whether we are using our social media to call out misrepresentation and misogyny, or consulting with AAA companies, we will continue to inspire our members to see that gaming will change with Black Girl Gamers at the forefront, and that they can do anything they put their minds to. Because after all, we’ve done all of this, and we started a Facebook group.