After a year-long hiatus, The 6th Annual Black in Gaming Awards show (BIG) returns bigger and better than ever – to recognize and celebrate the significant contributions and achievements of ‘hidden figures’ in the game developer space while advocating for diversity and inclusion.
The cutting-edge event will converge at the San Francisco War Memorial & Performing Arts Center, on Thursday, March 23rd at 6:00PM PST / 9:00 PM EST live in-person for the first time since 2019. The sixth annual Black in Gaming (BIG) Awards will honor content creators, developers, and gamers who have played pivotal roles in shaping the gaming industry. The awards show will also be live-streamed on Facebook and Instagram.
Honorees include: Josiana Valverde, Head of Special Projects, Diversity & Inclusion at Ubisoft receiving the Jerry Lawson Lifetime Achievement Award; Michael Lee, Senior Director Global Talent and Acquisition receiving the Industry Champion Award; Dr. Kishonna Gray, Associate Professor in Writing, Rhetoric, & Digital Studies and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky receiving the Education Award; Shawn Alexander Allen, founder of games company NuChallenger receiving the Excellence in Design Award; and more. See full list below.
To uplift this celebration, Sony Interactive Entertainment and Netflix have returned as partners to help support BIG’s diversity and inclusion efforts.
“Research shows that Blacks make up a staggering 2% of the video game industry and only 11% of Black characters are featured as the central player outside of athletes in sports games. The BIG awards underscores the need for black gaming professionals. We give executives and developers a platform to be recognized while creating a fun and unique experience – all during a time when it’s so desperately needed,” said Laura Teclemariam, Black in Gaming’s Chairwoman of the Board.
In an effort to address these disparities, The BIG Awards recently transitioned into an official 501(c) organization; which was founded with the purpose of bridging communities, and creating a more equitable and representative space for all. In 2022, The BIG Foundation set out for the “BIG 5-in-5”– an organizational goal to increase Black representation in the gaming ecosystem from 2% to 5% by 2028. BIG is working with various corporations to hit this lofty– yet tangible target.
Each year, The BIG Awards showcases trailblazing change-makers within the industry and this year is no different. Previous honorees include: Reggie Fils-Aime, former President/COO of Nintendo of America Inc., Julian Walshaw-Vaughan, Vice President of Engineering of Roblox, Stanley Pierre-Louis, President & CEO of Entertainment Software Association, and more.
The complete list of Black in Gaming Awards for 2023 includes:
Jerry Lawson Lifetime Achievement Award: Josiana Valverde, Head of Special Projects, Diversity & Inclusion at Ubisoft
Legacy Award: Gordon Durity, Executive Audio Director at Electronic Arts
Champion Award: Michael Lee, Senior Director, Global Talent Acquisition at Electronic Arts
Education Award: Dr. Kishonna Gray, Associate Professor and Author at University of Kentucky
Excellence in Media: Jeffery Rousseau, Writer at Gamesindustry.biz
Excellence in Programming: Scott Anderson, Senior Graphics Engineer at Unity Technologies
Excellence in Design Award: Shawn Alexander Allen, Founder of NuChallenger
Industry Spotlight Award: PlayStation Studio QA
Indie Developer Award: Glow Up Games
For more information on Black In Gaming, please visit www.thebigfoundation.org
ABOUT BLACK IN GAMING FOUNDATION
The Black in Gaming (BIG) Foundation, a 501(c) organization, is a volunteer community dedicated to cultivating, supporting, and promoting Black professionals in the video game industry. By actively working on creating opportunities for Black people in the video game industry, BIG also develops action plans to combat systemic institutionalized racism that manifests itself in unsafe spaces, microaggressions, and hidden discrimination in the workplace.
More at www.thebigfoundation.org