This article, a Black feminist mixtape, blends music, interviews, and critical analysis in order to demonstrate some of the ways in which Black women have impactfully engaged with the video game industry. Organized as musical “tracks,” it uses lyrics by Black women performers as a critical and cultural frame for understanding some of the work Black women have done with video games. In prioritizing the personal as not only political but also instructive for how we might think about digital media histories and feminism, each mixtape track focuses on Black women's lived experiences with games. As it argues throughout, Black feminism as defined and experienced by the Combahee River Collective of the 1970s has been an active and meaningful part of Black women's labor and play practices with video games.
Replaying Video Game History as a Mixtape of Black Feminist Thought
TreaAndrea M. Russworm is an associate professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; a series editor of Power Play: Games, Politics, Culture (Duke University Press); the author of Blackness Is Burning: Civil Rights, Popular Culture, and the Problem of Recognition (Wayne State University Press, 2016); and a coeditor of From Madea to Media Mogul: Theorizing Tyler Perry (University of Mississippi Press, 2016) and Gaming Representation: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in Video Games (Indiana University Press, 2017). She is currently writing a fourth book on race, video games, and the politics of play.
Samantha Blackmon has been gaming for more than forty years. She is an associate professor in the Department of English at Purdue University, cofounder of the feminist game studies blog and podcast Not Your Mama's Gamer, and editor in chief of the feminist game studies journal NYMG.
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TreaAndrea M. Russworm, Samantha Blackmon; Replaying Video Game History as a Mixtape of Black Feminist Thought. Feminist Media Histories 1 January 2020; 6 (1): 93–118. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fmh.2020.6.1.93
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