There’s a common idea that playing video games all day in your mom’s basement means that you’ll never amount to anything in life. At one point that may have been true, but in 2019, things are drastically different. Today, the gaming industry is a multibillion dollar business and by extension, there are tons of hobby gamers turned professional gamers who have turned their passion into a real life job. Many of these people have become gaming influencers by joining esports leagues, using their knowledge of gaming to consult with major companies, and building online communities that bring various people, specifically marginalized groups, together.
However, the gaming world isn’t all fun and games for everyone, especially Black gamers, and especially Black gamers who are also women. Some of the most prominent voices in gaming have cited rampant racism and sexism that make what’s supposed to feel like a fun experience a lot less safe, but not everyone is taking it in stride. The gaming community is still growing, and so are the influencers who have made a name for themselves. They are working hard to be seen and heard, proving that #BlackGamersMatter. Here are five of our favorite Black gamers making waves for the culture.
King Jae TV
Justin Nelson aka “King Jae” is a London-based competitive gamer, vlogger and product reviewer. His videos include intricate details about game play, characters, and honest reflections about the hottest games, like Tekken, Mortal Kombat, and more.
Chasinglux is all about inclusivity in the gaming world. This writer, editor and content creator reps hard for Black women. She is also a community manager for Twitch, one of the biggest online gaming platforms, where she focuses on fostering a safe space for Black women. Through her work in gaming, she has also co-founded Thumbstick Mafia, another online community that serves as a carefully curated archives where Black women in the gaming community can discover news, podcasts, tips and tricks and more, centered around their experiences.
Zaqueri Black is a professional league player for 100 Thieves, a large gaming platform where fans can watch live matches in the League of Legends and Fortnite. Black has over 254K followers on YouTube, where he posts videos featuring his gaming adventures.
Keisha Howard, founder of Sugar Gamers, is well known in the tech world. She has been a video game enthusiast since childhood and now uses her background in communications to advocate for women in gaming and tech. Through Sugar Gamers, Howard makes sure that corporations in the gaming industry factor in women and the LGBTQIA community in their product offerings and other initiatives.