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by Charlene Campbell-Gray

How the gaming industry lacks black female representation

To date there has only been a small handful of video games which have included black female characters as either main protagonists or playable side characters within the storyline.

One notable character of African descent was In Assassin’s Creed III: Liberation the main protagonist was Aveline de Grandpre a Creole (African and French) woman whose life mission was to liberate those from injustice. The character was not only strong, but passionate about the causes she believes in, a true dream character to play. One annoyance was that the game was set during slavery, but this did not take anything away from the amazing storyline and character arc.

Other playable characters include Nadine Ross, a mixed South African woman of African origin in Uncharted: The Lost Legacy was the main character, this character is articulate, strong and a force to be reckoned with.

The gaming industry owes it to their fans to recognise that modern games need art to imitate life, creating black female characters encourages inclusion within the community. Liberating blerds (black nerds) who often feel overlooked, unwelcomed and generally targeted by white male players on gaming community boards as well as in co-op games with other players who frequently use degrading, disparaging language making this an often no go area.

In an interview with slate.com Briana Williams Black female gamer said when asked about her experience of sexism and Racism “I love who I am, but with content creation and streaming and gaming in general, I feel like I already have two strikes against me. I’m a woman and I’m Black. So you’re getting racism, you’re getting sexism, all of that”

Two Black British females, Danielle who goes by her gamer tag as (Ebonix) and Cassie (GeekyCassie) created Black Twitch UK (BTUK) as a way of creating a safe and welcoming space for other like minded players. Their platform frequently hosts events which are by invite only, allowing the players to be vetted thus creating a safe and welcoming space for black players.

Despite the gaming industry acknowledging the need for black female characters the industry is still in desperate need of a re-shape up.

The gaming industry owe it to fans to create varied characters who represent all facets of life, they also need to create realistic traits since black women are not a monolith, it would be interesting to see characters of all hues, complexions, hair types, body types and varying roles as we do in other games.

Independent video game developers Red Thread Games (RTG) based in Oslo, Noway, have created a game that does just that; in their upcoming title Dustborn: the protagonist is a pregnant black female called Pax who happens to have two moms so not only do we have inclusion here we have included the LGBTQ audience to boot. RGT have managed to include a range of ethnic minority characters and people with different body types the release is to be confirmed and will be available on windows PC and consoles.

By Charlene Campbell-Gray

Charlene Campbell-Gray is a freelance writer, editor and proofreader Charlene is a British writer living in Barcelona, Spain. You'll often find her in nature with a pad and a pen, ready to jot down any ideas. She also loves hiking, cycling, cooking, traveling and gaming in her spare time.