Black History Month is celebrated in the US every February. This year was no different from previous years in how Riot Noir, our Rioter Inclusion Group (RIG) for Black Rioters, went all out to celebrate Black culture. Through the inclusion of Black voices and narratives, we spent Black History Month building community both within Riot and among Black professionals working in the digital industry. Sharing Our Stories: Amplifying Black Voices in Gaming was Riot Noir’s theme for Black History Month in 2023. Networking gatherings, movies, and informational panels were just a few of the ways that the subject was explored during the month. What transpired at Riot for BHM this year is shown here.
The month got off to a good start. This was a gathering for Riot Noir members on the main Riot campus to celebrate the beginning of the month with food, music, games, and music by Rioter Seth Smith. Students are Riot’s and the game industry’s future. Students must be met where they are if Black leaders are to be given more opportunities in the gaming industry. Members of Riot Noir travelled to the USC campus alongside our University Programs team to network with Black students, offer their expertise of the gaming business, and distribute Riot merchandise.
Center represents a meeting ground for Black professionals.
In 2022, the SoLa Technologies and Entrepreneurship Center Powered by Riot Games made its debut. The South Los Angeles neighborhood can receive free technology education from the facility. Every year, over a thousand students will have the opportunity to experience and study at the Tech Center, ranging in age from elementary school-age children to teens running programs at the centre. The Tech Center, which was partially funded by a $2.25 million grant from Riot Games, is a part of our commitment to expanding the chances for Black and Brown students to enter the gaming industry.
SoLa is not only a place for students to learn, but it also serves as a gathering place for the Black professionals who currently make up the gaming industry and serve as role models for the subsequent generation of Black leaders in computing. Around 150 Black professionals from companies including Netflix, Tik-Tok, Naughty Dog, EA, and Meta were invited by Riot Noir to the centre to network, tour the Tech Center, and contribute to the expansion of the Black community in their respective areas.
Dishes made were inspired by their game characters.
All month long at the Los Angeles offices, speakers throughout the campus played music from various eras and genres that was created by Riot Noir members. The music for Black History Month honored almost a century of African musicians, from Aretha Franklin to Anderson Paak to Beyoncé. Every dish on the special menus were named after a Black character from one of our games by the chefs at NOMs, our on-campus cafe, in honor of Black History Month.
Soul food menu came first, with dishes like Pyke’s Bilgewater Fried Catfish, Phoenix’s Flaming Mac and Cheese, and Ekko’s Shrimp and Parallel Convergence Grits. The team then devised a menu with an African Diaspora concept to go along with the soul food menu. These dishes were influenced by fantastic cuisines from places like Morocco, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and other parts of the continent. Astra’s Nebula Smoked and Braised Goat with Jollof Rice, K’Sante’s Ntofo Shaped Meat Pies, and Lucian’s Lightslinger Awaze Beef Tibs with Injera were some of the dishes on this menu. Rioters gathered to eat both of these delectable lunches, therefore NOMs deserves all the praise in the world for both menus.
The theme was all about sharing the stories of Black Rioters.
Sharing the experiences of Black Rioters was the month’s main subject. The month included stories from Riot Noir participants who individually discussed how Black culture and identity permeate the work we perform on a daily basis in articles, films, and panels. In our “Get to Know” series, Team-fight Tactics Graphic Design Artist Kenneshia “Squeaky” Cox discussed her passion for the gaming industry, the value of fostering more representation in games, as well as her favorite video games and musical works. As a visual designer, Michael White discussed his favorite Tekken characters, the vast game industry, and the music he prefers to listen to when creating graphics.
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