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Strictly For The Black Gamers: The Squads You Need To Join Now

February 24, 2022

As Black and Latinx creators and characters remain in the minority, online gaming communities have emerged as a way to help people of color see themselves in the gaming space. While many of these communities have been in existence for several years, they were pushed to the forefront by the 2020 lockdown, which led so many of us to seek community online.

Discrimination exposed in gaming 

Sadly, the rise in mainstream awareness about platforms like Twitch and Reddit, where so much of the gamer community converge, also brought to light some ugly realities. In 2020, 64% of online multiplayer gamers between the ages of 18 and 45 experienced some kind of harassment – mostly tied to race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or ability – as part of their gaming experience, the Anti-Defamation League reports

Black gamers banding together online

The emergence of Black gamer communities serves multiple and necessary purposes. The most obvious, of course, is that they create a safe space for players to immerse themselves in games they love, without having to worry about the harassment and microaggressions that often exist not just in gaming communities, but also in the vast world of content that exists around them. By galvanizing large numbers of African-American video game players, these communities are also providing the numbers for creators to find support and funding for their games.

Increased representation always serves as a way to normalize inclusion. The hope is that the growing visibility of Black video game players, consumers, and online content creators has a direct impact on not just funding of Black-led projects, but also on inclusion within the corporate world: the Entertainment Software Association reports that the gaming industry generates over 428,000 jobs each year; yet according to Fortune, as of March 2021, only 2% of gaming professionals were Black.

Want to join and support the Black-gamer movement, but haven’t found your tribe yet?

Here are a few growing communities to check out:

Black Girl Gamers
If you’re looking for a massive community of Black gaming goddesses, Black Girl Gamers is for you. Founded in 2015 by Jay-Ann Lopez, BGG boats an impressive community of 7K members on Facebook and 35K followers on Twitch. Additionally, the community encourages conversations of race, mental health, and everything in between for members to feel safe and welcome.
Billing is what happens if BET and Twitch had a baby. Driven by Black culture, this platform offers a variety of content for the gaming and esports communities – from forums, to streams to tournaments, and more.

Melanin Gamers
In addition to offering online multiplayer gaming opportunities, this UK-based group also leads discussions and workshops aimed at helping the gaming industry resolve its diversity and inclusion issues.

Queens Gaming Collective

Launched in November 2020, this growing network goes beyond the community, to identifying and providing resources, tools, and platforms to help women ‘level the playing field.’