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Jay-Ann Lopez
Photograph Michael Stuart Daley

Jay-Ann Lopez’s gaming obsessions: Enter the Matrix and fantasy RPGs

The founder of Black Girl Gamers guides us through her gaming hot takes

Dazed XP is a series where we go deep on all things video games – consoles v PC, iconic video game characters, gaming bugbears and stereotypes, or retro faves.

It’s a false stereotype that most gamers are white guys living in their parents’ basements. “Of course, there are people like that, but it doesn't apply to everyone, obviously,” says Jay-Ann Lopez. “I don’t like to enforce that stereotype because it's damaging, both to white men and to other gamers.”

Battling against this misrepresentation is partly why Lopez founded Black Girl Gamers, a gaming collective that’s now home to over 9,000 Black women all around the world. Conceived in 2015, Black Girl Gamers was created to provide a safe space for Black women in gaming, away from racism and misogyny. In the years since its formation, the collective has not only grown in membership, but in scope: along with regular streams and events on platforms like Twitch, the collective works with the likes of Facebook, Google, Netflix and other gaming communities, while curating events with organisations such as the V&A, Belong Gaming Arenas and Twitch. 

Ultimately, with Black Girl Gamers, Lopez’s aims are to ensure that Black women in gaming have a seat at the table, be that through representation, influence, equality or experiences. “So many games are focused on one demographic or one area, usually white men or Europe,” Lopez tells Dazed. “That’s why I’m interested in games like Black Myth: Wukong, Ghosts of Tsushima, and Assassin’s Creed: Origins. They’re set in places that you get to explore and that’s what I think gaming is all about. They’re about utilising your imagination and exploring things that aren’t just one set norm.” 

Here, Lopez takes Dazed through all of her gaming obsessions and hot takes.


Jay-Ann Lopez: My mum used to present on the radio and, because she was a single mother, she would take me with her. I remember playing Doom on PC while she was working.


Jay-Ann Lopez: The first game I loved was Enter the Matrix where you could play as Ghost or Niobe from The Matrix series. Niobe is obviously played by Jada Pinkett Smith. That was the first Black character that I got to play for an extended period of time that had Bantu knots, looked dope and whooped arse. She was one of my favourite characters and that made me fall in love with the game. 


Jay-Ann Lopez: When the PS4 came out was a really good era for me. Also, when the original Xbox came out. We don’t give Xbox enough credit for the amount of doors they opened with Xbox Live and the types of games they came out with. Like, Halo opened up a whole genre for games. 


Jay-Ann Lopez: Not all games are violent and violent games don’t lead to violent tendencies. I’ve been playing shooting games since I was very young – too young to admit – and I’m not gonna go and do commit a mass crime against anybody. Video games are not monolithic. They exist in so many different shapes, forms, stories, formats, lengths and qualities. It’s also not a solitary activity. When you play online, because you have to collaborate with your teammates, you have communities and discords that formulate around one game as a point of common interest. You interact with other people.


Jay-Ann Lopez: I love my PS5 dearly. But I love my PC dearly, too. PC gaming opens up a world that many people don’t get to enjoy on console. MMORPGs are great experiences that you mainly have on PC. That’s a world I really love, especially with my love for fantasy games. I’ve been playing Grounded, which is on Game Pass. It’s kind of a co-op RPG sandbox game. That’s super fun to play with friends

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