@PopNoTarts, 27 – FUNDED

In addition to being a content creator and founder of Brown Girls Love Yakuza (BGLY), @PopNoTarts is also an anime and film enthusiast — and a seasoned pianist! This JBL Quantum Grant winner knows the power of building a network in this industry and has more advice to share here!

What is your dream in gaming and/or esports? 

My dream is to curate a healthy and positive space for BIPOC to enjoy gaming — both casually and competitively.

How will this award from the 1,000 Dreams Fund help you reach your goals? 

This grant allows me to make ergonomic upgrades, which will facilitate more time in online communities and developing networks. It will also allow me to attend different virtual events that can expand my current network while continuing to stream.

What does being a 1,000 Dreams Fund – JBL Quantum Grant recipient mean to you? 

Being a JBL Quantum Grant recipient means I can and WILL make a difference. I am still in shock about being a recipient. I am thankful that I have this opportunity to not only push myself further in this industry but to also bring others I know into this space.

Women are underrepresented in gaming and esports. What can we do to change this? 

1,000 Dreams Fund has already taken the initiative by fostering community and providing grants. More brands (like JBL!) and game developers should partner with organizations and communities that are dedicated to helping spotlight and create spaces for women in gaming and esports. For example, Respawn worked with BrownGirlGamerCode’s Apex Academy. Viewers of the event ranged from current members of the community to new members.

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

Outside of the obvious external challenges of being a Black woman in this space, one of the biggest obstacles has been (and sometimes still is) myself. Even with the comfort I have now as a content creator, I still grapple with my own self-doubt — for example, I can be too self-critical, and I don’t always play certain games on-stream that I absolutely love. But, I’m learning to be kinder to myself and, when I forget, my community is always there to remind me.

What advice do you have for women who want to work in the gaming or esports industry? 

If you really want to work in esports or gaming, you must put in the effort. You can’t build anything without a foundation and networking is essential — it’s the best way to start. Learn how to market yourself: update your resume; make that pitch deck; go to an online talk giving tips. Make private lists and follow specific topics on Twitter; try to be as active on social media as you can since this is where a lot of networking happens. Also, join the 1,000 Dreams Fund Discord!

How do you stay motivated and focused on your goals? 

My community, the communities I am active in, and my circle all keep me going. Although I use Notion and stick with a consistent schedule, the spaces I’m a part of never fail to remind me that if that person can do it, I can too. Anything is possible — as long as I try.