Fighting to win the game, while intense, can be fun.  Fighting to get into the game, not so much.  Unfortunately for African-Americans, that’s been a continuous cycle that’s still a plague on our community in various fields of endeavors.  Take for instance the gaming industry.  A large sector of the African-American community spends hours upon hours in front of a monitor or television with the capability of competing against worldwide opposition. If entertainment was the sole inspiration of gaming, we are talking about some major coin.  In 2023, with all the various methods of participation, there exist sub genres within the gaming community that are generating millions of dollars.  Now we are talking about another league of paper; we are talking multi-BILLIONS.  Now the question arises: are we getting a share?  Looking to see that a portion of the pie comes our way is The Black in Gaming (BIG) Foundation; a 501(c) organization, that’s a volunteer community dedicated to cultivating, supporting, and promoting Black professionals in the video game industry. By actively working on creating opportunities for Black people in the video game industry, BIG also develops action plans to combat systemic institutionalized racism that manifests itself in unsafe spaces, microaggressions, and hidden discrimination in the workplace.

As a company they just don’t provide lip service and after a year-long hiatus, The 6th Annual Black in Gaming Awards show (BIG) returns bigger and better than ever – to recognize and celebrate the significant contributions and achievements of ‘hidden figures’ in the game developer space while advocating for diversity and inclusion. 

The cutting-edge event will converge at the San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center, on Thursday, March 23rd at 6:00PM PST / 9:00 PM EST in front of a live crowd for the first time since 2019. The sixth annual Black in Gaming (BIG) Awards will honor content creators, developers, and gamers who have played pivotal roles in shaping the gaming industry. The awards show will also be live-streamed on Facebook and Instagram. Honorees include: Josiana Valverde, Head of Special Projects, Diversity & Inclusion at Ubisoft receiving the Jerry Lawson Lifetime Achievement Award; Michael Lee, Senior Director Global Talent and Acquisition receiving the Industry Champion Award; Dr. Kishonna Gray, Associate Professor in Writing, Rhetoric, & Digital Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky receiving the Education Award; Shawn Alexander Allen, founder of games company NuChallenger receiving the Excellence in Design Award; and more. 

To uplift this celebration, Sony Interactive Entertainment and Netflix have returned as partners to help support BIG’s diversity and inclusion efforts.

“Research shows that Blacks make up a staggering 2% of the video game industry and only 11% of Black characters are featured as the central player outside of athletes in sports games. The BIG awards underscores the need for black gaming professionals. We give executives and developers a platform to be recognized while creating a fun and unique experience – all during a time when it’s so desperately needed,” said Laura Teclemariam, Black in Gaming’s Chairwoman of the Board.

In an effort to address these disparities, in 2022, The BIG Foundation set out for the “BIG 5-in-5”– an organizational goal to increase Black representation in the gaming ecosystem from 2% to 5% by 2028. BIG is working with various corporations to hit this lofty– yet tangible target.  

With that kind of bread on the line, we need that kind of BIG thinking!!!  I’m gone.  Over and out.  Holla next week.  Til then, enjoy the nightlife.  

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