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The Black in Gaming Awards honors the many contributions and achievements of Black people in the gaming industry. The 4th Annual Black in Gaming Awards continued to honor Black excellence in 2020 at PAX Online. It was simulcasted on September 13 on the Black in Gaming Twitch.

From the very inception of video games, Black people have been an integral, yet unrecognized and underappreciated part of the creation of games. In recent years through advocacy, more companies are recognizing the contributions of Black and PoC peoples in the games industry.

But we still have a long ways to go until the appreciation and representation of Black people in the games industry is normalized outside of trending tragic events that inspire companies to tweet “Black Lives Matter” for a few weeks.

That’s why organizations like Sugar Gamers and Black Girls Code were created. These organizations exist to educate us all while representing the underrepresented. And that’s why we are grateful for organizations like Black in Gaming giving people their flowers while they are still alive.

Black in Gaming or BIG is a non-profit organization dedicated to fighting racism and discrimination in the games industry through activism and bringing about awareness of the accomplishments of Black people in gaming.

The BIG board of directors created categories that were unique to the achievements of the selected BIG Award recipients.

The BIG Awards were narrated by Eli Harris and hosted by Spawn on Me podcast host Kahlief Adams and the Head of Diversity and Inclusion at Niantic Inc, Trinidad Hermida.

Keisha Howard received the Industry Spotlight Award at the 4th Annual Black in Gaming Awards at PAX Online

Sugar Gamers own Keisha Howard received the Industry Spotlight Award for her diligent work fighting for diversity in games. Her work in tech and advocacy for diversity in the games industry have inspired Black girls and Women of Color across the globe.

At the start of the awards ceremony, Carl Varnado, the executive director of Black in Gaming honored one of the gaming industry’s Black unsung heroes—Jerry Lawson. Lawson was the creator of the first video game cartridge. The creation of games cartridges allowed video games systems to play hundreds of games with an interchangeable cartridge system.

The Full List of the Black in Gaming Awards Recipients

  • Legacy Award – Reggie Fils-Aimé, Former President of Nintendo
  • Lifetime Achievement – Mike Pondsmith, R. Talsorian Games
  • Performance Award – Chris Judge, Voice of Kratos in God of War
  • Champion Award – Sarah Bond, Xbox 
  • Excellence in Programming – Raymond Graham, Unity
  • Excellence in Product & Design – Marcus Montgomery, Oculus 
  • Education Award – Kymberly Bryant, Black Girls Code
  • Industry Spotlight Award – Keisha Howard, Sugar Gamers
  • Indie Developer Award – Aurion: Legacy of the Kori-Odan
  • Excellence in Media Award – Kahlief Adams, Spawn on Me Podcast
  • Excellence in Artistry – Erlson Neba, Bethesda
  • Image Award – Shana Bryant, Crystal Dynamics
  • Social & Economic Initiative Award – Roderick Woodruff, Urban Video Game Academy

The 4th Annual Black in Gaming Awards was sponsored by Sony Interactive Entertainment, Niantic Inc, and Unity Technologies. You can watch the full awards ceremony on Twitch.