Black Lives Matter. (ft. Zoe Schneider of Harmonix)

Our return to the digital airwaves comes in the wake of worldwide protests and a focused on on the struggle of Black lives in the United States. This episode features a discussion with Zoe Schneider, public speaker, activist, and community manager for Harmonix.

Welcome back to Intelligame Radio, all. It’s a hell of a time to be in the world, but I’m glad we’re pushing for change and progress together.

George Floyd’s killing at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department shifted the focus of the country, and then the entire world. The past couple weeks Intelligame Radio has been on an unannounced hold as I’ve tried to find my own ways to deal with the fallout.

As a community we ran a fundraiser for the Minnesota Freedom Fund and hosted multiple streams discussing current events. To those who’ve attended or donated, thank you SO MUCH for that support…it’s meant the world.

Our last episode of the podcast with Malik Forté touched on some of the social issues of that moment. I was glad to have the conversation, but the world’s very much shifted in just a couple weeks. For the podcast’s return, I wanted to feature a guest I could deep dive with…so I reached out to Zoe Schneider.


Featured Guest: Zoe Schneider, Community Manager for Harmonix

Zoe stands with large hoop earrings and a blue t-shirt standing with Josh, who's wearing a black-and-yellow jacket and a character t-shirt.

Zoe and I met at PAX East this year at Harmonix’s large booth installation for Fuser. I’m a big fan of Dropmix, a music-mixing game that Fuser is the follow-up to. But when I met Zoe, we didn’t end up spending a whole lot of time talking about the game.

Meeting other Black games professionals often feels like a breath of fresh air, especially at general-interest shows like PAX. Zoe and I spent time talking not just about games, but about her history working with music. She’s traveled around the world, studied multiple instruments, and brought a true passion for music to her work. She’s also worked as an activist, a public speaker, and advocated for Black and LGBT people whatever she’s doing.

During our episode of Intelligame Radio, we focus heavily on discussions of Black lives, starting with our own. Zoe draws on her own life experience as a queer Black woman, talking about how her commitments to progress are personal. During the show, she says it’s important for everyone to make personal ties to the causes they’re fighting for. Well, the words she uses are “fall in love” with the causes…but you’ll hear when you listen.

By the way, Zoe’s Intelligame may seem a little suspect…but when you hear the story about why she chooses her game, I think you’ll get it. 🙂 (She also mentions NBA Street, so bonus points there. 🏀)

References

Zoe mentioned the Black History Month Library, a Google Drive full of resources and readings from influential Black thinkers. If you’ve been asking people where you should start to read from Black perspectives, this is a great resource.


Game Recommendation: SweetXheart

We’ve played Catt Small’s narrative game SweetXheart after it was released. SweetXheart is a brief, free narrative game you can play in your web browser. The game puts you in the shoes of Kara, a 19-year old Black woman living the Bronx. Over the course of the week, Kara goes to school, work, and hangs out with friends, just like normal. But she also deals with microaggressions: catcalls, dismissive tones at work, issues with friends. There are highs and lows, joys and sadness, and by the end of the week you can see how little actions may build up to larger effects.

In the current moment, the spotlight is on police brutality and state-sanctioned violence against Black people. Beyond those issues, there are day-to-day struggles in the workplace, at home, and everywhere else that marginalized people fight against. Every one of us can make things better in our circles of influence, particularly if we carry significant privilege. SweetXheart is a great reminder of the challenges and successes of everyday life, not just the extraordinary.


Thanks again to Zoe Schneider for being a guest on the show. You can find out more about Fuser by visiting its homepage.

Black Lives Matter, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, or anything else. We have mattered, and we will continue to matter. I encourage you to spend time learning the viewpoints of more Black creators, and make it a point to take even just one small step each day to help make the world better for Black people and the world as a whole.


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Thank you so much. 🙂

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Intelligame. Lover of story-centric games of all kinds, arcade games, and mobile titles. Mac and Cheese connoisseur.

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