“We have a mission. We have goals. We have things we need to accomplish. So, you know, if that means we have to take things in our own hands? It’s unfortunate; we don’t always want to do that. But we have to; we got to do what we got to do. Because we have, at the end of the day, we have a whole vision that we’re on.”YoBrandii
It’s Day Six of our feature series, and we’re still going strong with our amazing lineup of fantastic and hardworking content creators. For today, we’re excited to announce that our next subject is the CEO and founder of BrownGirlGamerCode, YoBrandii!
Bran has been playing video games for almost as long as she can remember, with some of her favorite childhood games being A Bug’s Life and Tomb Raider. But when it comes to Twitch, she more or less stumbled upon the platform by coincidence. After getting the recommendation by her partner to visit the site, Bran used Twitch more casually before starting live streaming one day by accident. She had just gotten her Playstation4 in 2017 and was playing Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas when she hit the “Go Live” button and began what would be the first of many live streams and so much more.
The community that has grown and fostered support for all of its members started out as a blog managed by her and her best friend. Their goal was to examine the gaming industry and then use their platform to talk about women who work in the space and highlight their work and voices. After beginning to live stream more often, Bran got the idea to perhaps take what she was already working on with the blog and combine it with what she had begun doing on Twitch. As of today, BrownGirlGamerCode has grown into a flourishing Discord community, a Twitch channel with over 2,000 followers, and has hosted multiple events such as their Code Chats (a monthly talk-show style segment where Bran will host a woman of color currently working in the gaming industry), fundraising streams, educational live streams, and much more.
In addition to all the work that she does for BGGC, Bran also enjoys streaming to her own Twitch channel. Some of her favorite game genres include horror games and indie games, and she’ll frequently stream scary games both on her channel and BrownGirlGamerCode’s. She enjoys some FPS games as well, having always enjoyed squading up in Fortnite, the “Total Mayhem” game mode in Overwatch, and has recently been getting more into Apex Legends. “Fortnite Fridays” have always been a popular theme night for the community, and many BGGC members and supporters will always visit the live stream when Fridays roll around.
We asked Bran what some of the goals she has for this year are, and she shared that she would love to take her hosting and Code Chats to the next level. Just a few of her ideas include inviting more guests to the channel, collaborating with other creators or gaming companies to curate content that is truly original and special, and even working to develop some career and professional readiness segments and opportunities for viewers. Her aspirations for BrownGirlGamerCode are similar, in that she wants to continue to work to uplift the voices of its members and provide opportunities for them in the gaming industry that may have not been available to them before. While the industry is improving, Bran is still motivated to keep this work going until women of color are better supported and better represented.
“What inspires me to keep moving is to get to a place where we feel supported, where we feel safe and where the door has been kicked open. And not just kicked open, but for each and every member to look back and pull someone up with them. So it’s not about just us creating opportunities right now, but once you get those opportunities, you need to be using your platform and using your privilege, or whatever it is you have, you need to be using that to shine the light for somebody else. Because somebody else was in that position where they felt like they couldn’t and they felt discouraged and they didn’t see themselves making it in the industry. And so, I’m all about that. Like, bring somebody else with you. It’s not enough to just, you know, take the resources, but you need to give back to the community and you need to bring someone else with you.”YoBrandii
Many of the planned events, theme nights, learning sessions, charity streams, and more will be planned with BrownGirlGamerCode’s core values: representation, community engagement, safety and security in gaming and technology, equity, and inclusion in gaming. In order to discover what needs or desires that the BGGC community has, Bran dedicates plenty of time to asking them directly and fielding interests to see what it is that she and the other members of the community that help with management can begin working on next. Some of the community goals for this year include increasing membership, expanding and accepting more members of the stream team, and working closely with gaming companies and organizations to create something that is made for and by women of color.
When it comes to Black History Month, like many other Black content creators and community managers Bran approaches February on the side of cautious optimism. While BHM is a time of the year to uplift and showcase Black voices and talent, she must remind herself that BrownGirlGamerCode does that year round and that it’s important to focus on doing things that are well thought out and paced rather than trying to fit too much into one month and then become burned out for the following months. She has also been more particular about which opportunities she’ll accept on behalf of BGGC, stating that in the past some organizations will approach them with either no timeline or concrete plan in mind, therefore leaving almost all of the work up to her and those who would help with the project. This has been a source of frustration in the past, and she hopes that this will be something that the industry will begin to change in the future.
Though she acknowledges that others have had more negative experiences with BHM in gaming, and that those experiences and subsequent feelings on the subject are completely valid, Bran has personally had more positive than negative experiences in the past and hopes to use them to keep going forward with her work in this space. She has had the opportunity to visit the Twitch Headquarters last year and has attended workshops that have helped her to better understand and plan content for BrownGirlGamerCode. While there is still much work to be done, Bran feels confident in her work with her community and has a bright outlook for what is to come for 2021. Her main wish for now is that people will continue to keep their eye on BGGC and support the community and those who are a part of it. When asked for any final words or thoughts, she said:
“…I want people to continue to support the community, support BrownGirlGamerCode, come by the streams, check out our content, support our weekly streamers on their own channels as well. And yeah, if you work at a gaming company or a tech company, and you’re looking for a community of women of color that are badass and doing great things? Listen, our email is firstname.lastname@example.org. So, you know, we’re ready. We’re ready. And we’re pushing forward.”YoBrandii
Both YoBrandii and her community, BrownGirlGamerCode, have already made an amazing impact on the gaming industry so far, and we have no doubt that they will continue to inspire and do great things as we progress into 2021 and beyond. We’re excited to see what’s in store for them, and encourage each and every one of you to show them your support whenever you get the chance.
On behalf of the Off Colour team, we thank her for taking the time to chat with us and share more about her path as a creator!
Thank you so much for reading, and we hope you enjoy the rest of our series!