“Be kind and everything will be fine. Life’s too short to be hateful. It’s too much and it takes too much energy to be hateful. It’s so much easier to just be kind. You you will see a lot of benefits from the seeds that you sow from kindness.”PopNoTarts
It’s Day 9 of our gaming series made to celebrate and recognize Black creators and we’ve had a fantastic lineup of game designers, Twitch streamers, and more. We’re excited to have the opportunity to highlight PopNoTarts, our next feature subject who joins the ranks of our amazing content creators in this series so far.
PopNoTarts has been gaming ever since she was a little girl; one of her earliest memories was playing Aladdin on her Atari with her parents. As she grew older, she became exposed to and took up a wider variety of games. She would play simulation and fighting games with her mother, sports and shooters with her dad brother, and multiplayer games with them as a family. It was when a friend one day asked her when she was going to begin live streaming on Twitch that she became interested in doing the same. After being a viewer on the platform for a while, Pop finally decided to give it a try.
She began live streaming during September of 2019 and fell in love with it ever since. It has been an amazing experience to be able to grow her community and do what she enjoys.
“It’s like a wild dream. It’s like every day I wake up or every time I have a stream, or if it’s a day that I’m streaming, I literally cannot believe I have this amount of people that come to watch me. I can’t believe I have people in Discord saying, ‘Hey, are we going to watch a movie tonight?’ Or just the community building, the friendships that I’ve made. It’s been such a lovely experience that it feels like an ongoing dream that you don’t want to wake up from.”PopNoTarts
Some of PopNoTart’s favorite game genres to both play and stream are JRPGs and RPGs, indie titles, action adventure games, and platformers. Her favorite series to date are Yakuza and the Sonic the Hedgehog franchises; both games combine elements of some of her favorite genres overall. She dabbles occasionally in The Legend of Zelda, as it was one of the very first Nintendo she ever played with her mother as a child.
When not live streaming, Pop is a Doctoral candidate for musicology. She does research on both animated and video game soundtracks, looking at the use of Black music genres in popular media. Specifically in cartoons, film and video games and seeing how those genres play out. Originally a performer, she got burned out as she was one of the few people in her department who would be available to play for performances, meaning that she was almost always playing. She made the transition to musicology when realizing that she could still pursue her interest and do research without the added component of performing, though she could always return if she wanted.
While her current department isn’t perfect, they do a good job of supporting and listening to her when she may have a concern. We asked what it was like to be pursuing such a fascinating degree while being a content creator, and Pop said that while it can be hard at times, the experience has been a rewarding one. She hopes that with her degree she can eventually work with a gaming company in the development of their music and soundtracks, sharing that music is an important part of worldbuilding and can set the tone for so much within the game.
PopNoTarts is already working to combine her platform and her knowledge of musicology. This month, she made the decision to do a series of threads on Twitter to educate readers on Black music history. She originally fielded interest in the project to her community, and after an enthusiastic response by those interested she got to work. So far, she has covered important periods of Black music history such as the Harlem Renaissance, Black popular music 20th century, covering music all the way from 1900 to 1990, and recently did a segment with BrownGirlGamerCode where she highlighted and taught on Black music history live for those watching.
We asked her to go more in-depth about her personal approach to Black History Month as a content creator, and how she goes about preparing for February. Outside of carefully curating her education content, PopNoTarts will take the time to prepare her channel and take other safety measures, such as securing any and all personal information, preparing her moderation team, and making sure that her community is safe above all else.
Pop also spoke more on how and when to recognize that companies and organizations are being performative instead of genuine. Coming from a family that has always been closely involved with activism, she knows how to recognize efforts that have meaning between those that don’t. Some things that can make it easier to tell the difference are looking at their staff, doing research on their past diversity and inclusion efforts, and their treatment of Black symbols and culture within their games and even merchandise.
“There are so many things from Black culture that get taken and put on a tshirt or used by other creators. And there’s no credit to us at all. And it’s – it’s offensive. And if they genuinely want to change or show that they are for us, they need to be in contact with year round and hire us and support us. Year round, every year, all year.”PopNoTarts
PopNoTart’s main points and future hopes when it comes to gaming companies and Black History Month are that they will make continual and year round efforts to make effective change for equity and inclusion. Just a few things that could make lasting change include listening to criticism and taking it to heart, as well as making more efforts when it comes to hiring practices and employee retention. She also hopes that they will, within an appropriate time span, look to organizations already doing this work to collaborate with them. Whether it is for feedback, workshops, or events.
We want to thank PopNoTarts again for talking with us more about their journey as a Doctoral candidate and content creator. We wish her all the best of luck with her live streaming and future projects, and have no doubt that they will be amazing like the work she has already done.
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!