To celebrate Black history month, Xbox wants to let the gaming community know that Black gamers matter.
The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor lead to a wave of social unrest in the United States and around the world. Businesses and even the video game community, out of respect for the movement, stood in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protestors by doing things like releasing free dynamic themes, loading screens, and in-game gear with the rallying cry.
While it was something we loved to see, others did feel the moves were just performative for the moment. In light of Black History Month, Xbox wants to hammer home the point they are down for the cause, and that energy when it comes to supporting Black gamers, creatives within the gaming industry and improvement of Black lives will always be kept.
The company announced that it would be celebrating Black History Month by “offering captivating gaming experiences, highlighting the contributions of influential Black and African American developers and creators, while raising awareness of important causes that matter to Black communities,” the company said in a statement.
Wanting to spark and contribute to real change in the industry, Xbox says it will amplify more Black more voices and partner with more Black creatives while continuing to call out racial injustice and police brutality. Q Muhaimin, Software Engineer II and co-lead of Black employee group at Xbox, spoke about the company’s commitment to supporting the Black community in a quote sent to Hip-Hop Wired:
“At Xbox, we are committed to building an inclusive community where everyone can experience and embrace the joys of gaming. We are doubling down on our efforts to meaningfully engage and support the Black community across the globe through highlighting and partnering with organizations like Gameheads. We will continue to elevate Black voices and organizations during Black History Month and beyond.”
As part of the commitment which Xbox expresses will not only be just for Black History Month, the company has kicked off a series of activations for Black gamers and members of the Xbox community to interact with. The Xbox and Windows Store will highlight games, movies, and television shows curated by Black communities at Microsoft that will focus on Black protagonists, creators, experiences, and more.
Xbox Community Game Club, a weekly way to play, share, and discuss video games together as a community, will feature titles and games developed by Black/African American creators and features Black/African American characters and voice actors.
Xbox also reached out to Black/African American gamers and asked them to submit stories about how games that accurately represent them have impacted their lives. You can read the ones that Xbox selected out of the hundreds of submissions by going here.
For Black History Month, Minecraft: Education Edition will be offering four new lessons and a demo experience teaching students about the history of Civil Rights and the ongoing struggle for social justice and racial equity. Students will be able to learn about the life and activism of Dr. Martin Luther King, relive moments in the American Civil Rights movement, investigate ideas behind identity, and learn about how the Black Lives Matter is continuing the fight for social justice.
That’s not all either. You can learn more about what Xbox is offering throughout February by going here.
This in addition to the $3 million donation from Xbox and the Xbox player community in support of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., Black Lives Matter Support Fund, and Equal Justice Initiative.
Salute to Microsoft and Xbox.
Photo: Microsoft / Xbox