My name is Selena Garnett, I am a wife and mother of five from Pennsylvania. I am a gamer! I have been gaming since I was 5 years old. My older brother put a joystick in my hand one day because I was always nagging him about playing and I never put it down. I started off with a Vectrex and then moved to an Atari 1200 with the wood grain. You couldn’t tell me nothing. From there I graduated to each new Atari and then finally Nintendo. I was a Mario junkie and after Nintendo I must say out of all my years of gaming the DreamCast was my absolute favorite. I was introduced to Resident Evil, 2K and Crazy Taxi.
Xbox One GamerTag: SCLASSMB
BGGC: What does gaming mean to you and what is its significance in your life as a Black Woman or Woman of Color?
Selena: Gaming has always been my release from the real world. It gave me confidence and it gave me a competitive edge to keep me always pushing for more. Through gaming I was able to find a community of people that band together as a family. I am currently a PC and Xbox one player and both communities have gotten me through and still help me with anxiety and depression. Gaming is my outlet and it allows me to be myself without any judgement. When I’m playing GTA V or Call of Duty with my crew, I am in my element and able to conquer any social anxiety that I have. The gaming community rallies around each other through good and bad times and we push each other beyond our comfort zones to complete great feats. Being a woman alone is tough in the gaming industry but being a woman of color is even tougher and it’s important that our younger generation sees themselves reflected when watching streams and engaging in gaming blogs, websites, podcasts, etc. I myself use to feel discouraged when trying to ask questions about certain aspects of games in gaming forums because you are met with racism and sexism soon as they see who you are. I am an avid Sim player and until I found Xmiramira and The Black Simmer Community I felt alone. We need these communities to encourage our youth and let them know that they to can achieve great things in gaming. On Xbox I have Black Girl Gamers (created by Jay Ann Lopez) and they are probably the greatest group of women I have ever met. It’s a safe haven that allows us to game and talk about anything without any backlash. Brown Girl Gamer Code, Thumbstick Mafia and The Cookout are really amazing platforms for Gamers Of Color to utilize and learn from. It’s so refreshing to have all of these social media sites in place now so we can see ourselves thrive in this industry. We can get advice, reviews, tips and we aren’t met with anything negative. Our voices are finally being heard in a place where we were always silenced.
BGGC: What does motherhood mean to you and how do you balance being a mom with being a gamer? Are your children gamers too? If so, do you play together? How does this influence your relationship with each other? Are there games that you loved as a kid (or currently) that you want to pass on to your children and share with them?
Selena: Balance is the key to being a mother and a gamer. I recently started streaming within the last 2-3 months and I always state my kids come before anything. Becoming a mother is one of the most important and rewarding things in my life. My kids range from 18-9. I have 4 boys and one girl. I am literally running around every weekend from one thing to another with my kids but it’s the best feeling in the world when you see all that your child can do. I do not have a set schedule for streaming because I literally just try to squeeze in gaming when they are at school. All of my kids are gamers and they enjoy The Sims, Fortnite, 2K, Minecraft and more. We actually play Fortnite PUBG together as a family and The Sims was a game that was passed down. They all watched me play growing up and couldn’t wait until they were old enough to play.
BGGC: Lastly, is there anything else that you would like to include about yourself that isn't mentioned in the prompts listed above?
Selena: Gaming brings my whole family together. My husband is a gamer as well. Sometimes we all gather around and watch him play Assassin's Creed like it’s a movie. It allows us to spend quality time with one another while having fun. It was important that our kids become apart of gaming so that they have another outlet to express themselves with. They do sports and the arts, gaming is just another extension of that. I am a huge advocate in encouraging our children to find positive things to do. Children of color rarely see themselves in a positive way and it fills my heart with joy to show them so many amazing streamers and gamers that reflect who they are. It’s pretty cool that I am one of them and their mom