This content creator is making it easy to find Black streamers on Twitch
Ashley Mika's goal is to make finding and supporting Black creators easier than ever before.
Ashley Mika's goal is to make finding and supporting Black creators easier than ever before. | Provided by Upcomer/Eric Weichhart

This content creator is making it easy to find Black streamers on Twitch

The webpage will be updated regularly for the foreseeable future
This article is over 2 years old and may contain outdated information

Especially in recent years, the relationship between Twitch and its Black streamers, creators and users has been a contentious one.

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On Feb. 1, 2021, Twitch first launched the Black Brilliance recommended section on its front page carousel as a way to promote Black streamers and content creators on the platform during Black History Month. Since then, Twitch has come under fire for failing to promptly implement solutions to protect streamers from racist hate raids, which led to a virtual protest against the platform. The streaming platform also received criticism for banning political streamers Hasan “HasanAbi” Piker and Ian “Vaush” Kochinski for “Anti-White racism.”

Now that Black History Month is back, Twitch has revived its Black Brilliance section for 2022, this time featuring 1300 Black creators as well as some additional promotions. Throughout February, Twitch will produce additional Black Brilliance segments including a charity fundraiser for the American Heart Association, a new yearly Games Done Quick marathon featuring Black speedrunners and various shows highlighting Black streamers. Even with these efforts to promote Black creators, who, according to a 2018 study by StreamElements equate to 3.9% of streamers on the site, some believe Twitch could still be doing more to celebrate Black streamers of all sizes.

Enter Ashley Mika, a cosplayer and content creator who decided to tackle this issue on her own. Using nothing but her spare time and her own blog, NerdyBebop, Mika created the Black Streamers on Twitch Directory, an accessible, working list of Black streamers on Twitch.

“I’ve been working on this directory since Feb. 3,” said Mika. “What inspired me to do it was frustration. A lot of Black streamers on Twitter were voicing their frustration on how they couldn’t easily find other Black streamers who were a part of the Black Brilliance group. They were looking at Twitch to provide some sort of list, but all we got was a video with maybe 12 of the 1300 Black streamers and a blog post that did nothing, so I figured why not try and make one of my own.”

It took Mika nearly four days of manually adding streamers by hand, with graphics and alt-text included, to complete the directory. While it doesn’t account for the full roster of 1300 (yet), she’s received over 170 additional requests for streamers to be added and counting since going public with the list on Feb. 6.

The Black Streamers on Twitch Directory

Twitch is once again highlighting Black creators on the platform for Black History Month.
Twitch is once again highlighting Black creators on the platform for Black History Month. | Provided by Twitch

The Black Streamers on Twitch Directory initially started out as Mika’s plan to create a central hub where people could find a list of the 1300 Black streamers Twitch selected to be featured on the front page’s Black Brilliance section during Black History Month. After doing the work of pulling over 120 initial names, she quickly decided to expand the project’s scope.

“I just decided everyone Black who streams on Twitch will be on this list,” said Mika. “The longest part was doing alt text for every picture. I want to make sure the site and my work is as accessible as possible.”

According to Mika, the discontentment with Twitch’s “chaotic and unorganized” Black History Month event she’s seen from streamers and users on social media is warranted. From not providing any actual list of the 1300 chosen creators to not giving people a way to know when a particular streamer will be featured in the eight-slot Black Brilliance homepage section, it seems that to some, this event missed the mark in terms of accessibility and functionality.

“I have Windows and use the side-by-side feature all the time for work and such,” said Mika. “The Black Brilliance section disappears for me when I do that. It gets replaced with something else.”

The Black Brilliance tab on Twitch's front page.
The Black Brilliance tab on Twitch’s front page. | Provided by Twitch

While 2021’s Black Brilliance event only had 30 featured and over 100 discoverable Black creators, it was possible to pull up a list of highlighted creators. Twitch also provided dates and times of who was going to be featured so people could plan to show up and support their favorite streamers. Mika understands that, of course, it’s much more difficult to compile a list of over 10 times as many streamers, but that’s part of the work too.

“I just wish they could make sure people could find each other or get a moment to shine,” said Mika. “I’m not asking for time and dates for all 1300. It would be nice, but a simple list was what a lot of people were asking for.”

While nobody knows whether or not Twitch will create that list of streamers for the currently ongoing Black Brilliance event, Mika’s Black Streamers on Twitch Directory will be updated at least once a week for the foreseeable future. She’s currently not responding to incoming requests to deal with the mass influx of emails she’s received since launching the webpage, but any Black streamer, or fan looking to vouch for one, can send an email to [email protected] with their Twitch channel link and pronouns.

Author
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Nick Ray
Pop culture consumer and League of Legends thought-haver. Working on becoming a weirder person.