@MiladyConfetti, 27 – FUNDED

If you’re wondering where Alesha DeBose a.k.a. @MiladyConfetti got her vibrant name, it’s from track and field. She used to spray confetti in her hair before every meet. But, now, the Los Angeles-based broadcaster is spreading around a different kind of confetti with her stream — and it looks like the colorful pops of inclusiveness, friendship, and respect.

Alesha got serious about streaming, though, to honor a friend; they both had dreamed of making gaming their full-time careers. So, she has continued pursuing that path and turning it into a reality.

What she loves most about streaming is connecting with so many people; they make her a better person every day, she says. And her hope is that she can have a similar reciprocal impact on her community.

Alesha is our third grant recipient of the 1DF BroadcastHer Academy, which represents seasoned streamers who are making a positive difference in the industry.

What is your dream as a digital broadcaster?

My goal as a digital broadcaster and content creator is to connect with others and form a community based on shared values. I believe my role as a caster to my community is to be their advocate, friend, and support system for anything they may need. Outside of the digital space, my goal is to work for a platform like Twitch in the community management sector to connect, challenge, and promote the strengths of diversity through intentional acts of inclusion.

What does being the recipient of the BroadcastHER Grant mean to you and how will it help you reach your goals?

Being honored with the BroadcastHER Grant means that someone believes in what I am doing, and I am very grateful for that form of validation and support. The BroadcastHER grant will help me reach my goals by aiding me in applying for MBA programs and by helping me get to a gaming conference (e.g. Pax East) where I will get the opportunity to connect with other broadcasters and build upon my research.

Women are underrepresented in gaming, broadcasting, and e-sports. What can we do to change this?

To change it, we need education and advocacy on behalf of women and other marginalized identities to video game companies and gaming media outlets. When we educate and spread awareness about the importance of diversity — and when inclusion and equity is at the forefront — the impact is tangible and we begin to see growth. As a black woman, my goal is to always educate and not shy away from those hard conversations.

 What are you most inspired by when it comes to creating encouraging content for young women in gaming, broadcasting, and e-sports?

My community inspires and pushes me to always go beyond my comfort zone. They share with me their dreams, goals, how their day is going, and the impact I have in their lives, all of which fuels my passion and drive to be successful. When I ask for feedback on my content and what they want to see, they are very honest and push my creativity to places I never even thought to explore. I am grateful to them and so glad they are a part of my life.

What are some of the challenges you have faced along the way?

Some challenges I have faced as far as being a digital broadcaster are racism, sexism, and mental health stemming from grief. As a black woman on the Internet, trolls were a thing I knew I was going to have to face. I am a part of an amazing group called Black Girl Gamers, which is a group of women who offer support and a safe space for black women to exist and share their love for gaming and life. Whenever I deal with trolls, my mods are very supportive and remove them from my channel and discord, and I use the support of the BGG community to be reminded that I am not alone or the only black woman who deals with this.

When I decided I wanted to stream and create content it was around the time that both my roommate and my best friend committed suicide just 30 days apart. I was devastated; and I totally shut down. Streaming and gaining new friends along with counseling really helped me deal with my grief and channel my energy positively into honoring their memory through my stream and every step in life that I take.

What advice do you have for women who want to start broadcasting?

My advice for women who want to start streaming is to determine why you want to stream and what your content will be. Knowing why you want to do what you do, and then centering your content on your strengths is a great approach. As a woman, especially as someone with multiple intersecting, marginalized identities, it is best to prepare yourself for potential trolls and surround yourself with a good mod team. One of my first mods for my channel was my mom because she knew me best; she also knew what I wanted out of my content. Find that person or people for you and keep them close.

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals?

I stay motivated by my goals and by what my friend and I wanted to accomplish before he passed away. He and I wanted to work in the gaming industry — but not in retail (we had both worked at GameStop). We believed that we had the skills to do it, but not the path or the know-how to get there. Being a digital broadcaster is how I intend to make that dream come true. Every step I take is a step for myself and for him. Nothing gives me more motivation and focus than to know I now carry the torch of our ambitions forward.