At Xbox, we are committed to building the most inclusive community on the planet, where everyone can experience the joy and connection of gaming and bring their authentic selves to the action. In 2021, we will be celebrating Black History Month by offering captivating gaming experiences, highlighting the contributions of influential Black and African American developers and creators, while raising awareness of important causes that matter to Black communities.
We believe that small actions from members of the Xbox community can lead to lasting change in the industry, such as speaking up to report and callout racist remarks, learning about Black history and culture, and empowering Black-owned businesses and inclusive creators.
By amplifying Black voices, partnering with more Black creators, and continuing to address racial injustice, we strive to contribute to real change in our industry. We are committed to supporting Black audiences across the globe through programs that focus on issues relevant to them.
This past June, Team Xbox stood together with the Xbox player community in support of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., Black Lives Matter Support Fund and Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) by collectively donating over $3 million to these crucial causes. This contribution is part of our broader commitment to help take action and address racial injustice.
Here are some of the ways we plan to celebrate and elevate Black Communities:
Digital Stores – Xbox & Windows: Discover Games, Movies and TV Curated by Black Communities at Microsoft
This February and beyond, we are highlighting collections of games, movies, and TV shows selected by Black communities at Microsoft that bring focus to Black creators, experiences, protagonists, and more.
Check out a few highlights from the full games collection featuring creators, protagonists, playable characters, and character creation options:
Afterparty – Players enjoyed seeing Lola in this supernatural adventure from creator Adam Hines.
Watch Dogs 2 – Notable protagonist Marcus Holloway is a self-taught hacker, and the game has been praised for its accurate portrayal of experiences, like code-switching, that have made community members feel seen.
Apex Legends – Bangalore and Lifeline have excited players as two playable Black women with unique and differentiated backgrounds in a major title.
The Sims 4 – We love that developers worked with an influential Black modder and others to produce a recent update with 100+ skin tones, customization tools for skin tones and makeup, plus improved base game hairstyles.
Standouts from the full movies and TV collection featuring creators, leads, educational views, and family entertainment include:
“Black Panther” – The loss of Chadwick Boseman was tragic, but he remains a guide to an inspiring world where Black, African, and Brown people are equal, part of a respected culture, and leading global innovations. Directed by Ryan Coogler.
“Insecure” – From an amazing soundtrack of lesser-known Black artists, to its natural hairstyles and lighting, this Emmy nominated show created by Issa Rae is a relatable hit.
“Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” – Miles Morales brings visibility to Puerto Rican and Afro-Latino roots as Spider-Man.
“Hidden Figures” – This movie highlights the true story of three Black women, mathematicians that were the brains behind one of the greatest operations in human history at NASA.
Some visitors in the United States and Canada can check out the complete collections on the Microsoft Store on Xbox, the Microsoft Store on Windows, and the Xbox App on Windows. Starting March 1, visitors to both the Xbox and Windows Stores can find Microsoft Black community picks by searching for “Black History Month” and related terms.
Xbox Community Game Club Experience
The Xbox Community Game Club is a weekly way to play, share, and discuss games together as a community. In celebration of Black History Month, we’re featuring titles and games developed by Black/African American creators and featuring Black/African American characters and voice actors. Check in weekly to discover your new favorite game and use #XboxGameClub to discuss the importance of representation in gaming.
Xbox Ambassadors Share Their Stories
Highlighting and amplifying community voices is central to the Xbox Ambassadors mission. So, in celebration of Black History Month, we asked those who identify as Black/African American how games with representation of their identities have impacted them and to share their own stories about being a member of a gaming community. We received hundreds of responses and, with much consideration, selected the following to share.
Here are their stories: blog-ambassadors.xbox.com/black-history-month-xbox-ambassadors
Xbox Programming to Celebrate Black History Month
Xbox will be dedicating our livestreaming content all month long in celebration of Black History Month by featuring Black protagonists in games, developers, content creators and streamers! Follow us at Twitch.tv/Xbox so you don’t miss any of the action!
- Week of February 1 – Black Heroes Week
- “Let’s play and watch Black heroes be the star of their own games”
- Week of February 8 – Black Creators/Developers and their Games Week
- “Meet Black Creators & Developers and learn more about their titles”
- Week of February 15 – Black Streamers Takeover Week
- “Meet new & familiar faces in Black gaming communities”
- Week of February 22 – Black Streamers Takeover Week
- “Meet new & familiar faces in Black gaming communities”
Gaming and Impact with Microsoft Rewards
Microsoft Rewards Members can earn and donate points to several organizations supporting Black communities through Xbox. All Microsoft Rewards donations made to the organizations listed below will be matched by Microsoft through the month of February.
- The NAACP is a civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909 as an interracial endeavor to advance justice for African Americans.
- Black Girls Code is a not-for-profit organization that focuses on providing technology education for African American girls.
- Gameheads is a tech training program that uses video game design, development and DevOps to create diverse talent and bold new voices, train youth for the tech eco system and prepare them for college, career and civic life.
Xbox gamers can easily earn Microsoft Rewards points in various ways including playing or purchasing games after downloading the Microsoft Rewards app on Xbox.
Learn how you can earn Microsoft Rewards on your Xbox console. Earn points and redeem them for real rewards. Join today.
Mojang Studios/Minecraft: Education Edition Adds New Learning Opportunities
Black History Month is an important opportunity to teach students about the history of Civil Rights and the ongoing struggle for social justice and racial equity. To celebrate, Minecraft: Education Edition is offering four new lessons and a free demo experience to support students and educators as they address these critical topics. Students can learn about the life and activism of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., investigate ideas behind identity, experience important moments in the American Civil Rights movement, and learn how Black Lives Matter is continuing the work of racial justice. Additionally, players and families will be able to download Minecraft: Education Edition and access Lessons in Good Trouble as a free demo through the month of February in honor of Black History Month. Lessons in Good Trouble is based on the life and teachings of Civil Rights Leader and US Congressman John Lewis.
For more information and to download Minecraft: Education Edition free to get started, please visit: aka.ms/black-history-month
Undead Labs Commissions Original Design Merchandise Supporting the NAACP
This year during Black History Month, in close partnership with the NAACP, Undead Labs have commissioned an original T-shirt design by artist Ty Ferrell. The design was inspired by and building from the NAACP’s campaign, “We Are Done Dying,” and by the themes of hope and overcoming adversity as a community represented within State of Decay 2.
This striking original artwork will be available in two forms to all players and fans: as a free cosmetic item within State of Decay 2, and for purchase as a limited-edition physical T-shirt (coming soon to Xbox Gear Shop) in support of the NAACP.
T-shirt sales are only available between February 8 and March 1, 2021. No reprints are planned.
Within the game, the digital T-shirt will be automatically added as a free item for all players.
Black History Month Nameplate for Halo: The Master Chief Collection
In Halo: The Master Chief Collection, our players can customize their profile with special nameplates commemorating in-game activities or celebrating special events. Any players who log in during the month of February will automatically gain access to a unique Black History Month nameplate! With it, players can showcase their pride in their own identities, celebrate Black History Month and continue to drive a culture of inclusion in gaming.
Xbox Honors Black History Month with a New Gamerpic
In partnership with Black communities at Microsoft, we’re introducing a new gamerpic for Black History Month and beyond: the Pan-African Flag Heart. The Pan-African flag is a symbol of pride for many Black and African Americans, representing African roots, ancestry, and community.
Team Xbox stands with the Xbox player community to empower change through captivating and inclusive gaming experiences. It is through these experiences we hope to highlight and celebrate the valuable contributions from Black communities during Black History Month and beyond.
Play. Connect. Impact: Learn more about all that Xbox is doing to engage our communities at the Xbox Community Hub.