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Gameheads Launches Program for Black American Students

Updated: Jan 19

Gameheads, an Oakland-based tech training program, is currently accepting applications for its Black Video Game Scholars Program.


The program is the first of its kind, aiming to "increase the number of young Black students in the video game industry pipeline, and the interactive entertainment and mixed media industries," according to an infographic photo released on Twitter last week.


"...The reaction after we announced it has been far better than we expected," Gameheads Executive Director Damon Packwood said in an email to Black Esports Network. "We thought it would slowly catch on but as we speak our social media accounts are on fire."


Applications are open to any student between the ages of 15 and 25, but 15 to 20-year-olds will be prioritized this year.


"I am definitely optimistic about where this could lead for Black Americans," Packwood said. "Given the way the Gameheads organization has progressed over the last six years we are very confident in the type of program we can provide."

"Black people have always been a force in entertainment," he said. "When you think of the entertainment arm of the tech industry that's the video game industry which has been experiencing a lot of cultural issues recently.


"Culture is what Black people do. The video game industry and by extension the digital media industry needs Black folks the same way that Hollywood needed them in the 1970s, the comic book industry needs them now and the music industry has always needed us."


The program--which is 10 months long and free--is located in the Bay Area, but it is not for just students in the area, according to the list of frequently asked questions. While any student can apply and be a part of this program since it's virtual, "students in the Bay Area will get access to more resources."


"...Applicants are applying from all over the country including places like London, Johannesburg and Buenos Aires," Packwood said. "We can't accept everyone but we intend to do right by those we can."


Students who are accepted and participate in the program are expected to dedicate six to ten hours per week to the program during the school year. During the summer months, they will be expected to dedicate 24 hours per week.


The program will feature different types of activities and resources such as classes in game design, project management and animation. There will also be access to events focusing on Black tech creators, entrepreneurs and video game developers. Students will also meet Black game design students from video game programs at top universities around the U.S.


There is no set deadline for applying, though--it's first-come, first-serve, and Packwood said Gameheads was nearing 100 applicants and it's possible the number could double.


If you, or a student in your life between the ages of 15 and 25, could benefit from the Black Video Game Scholars Program, apply soon! Questions can be sent to damon@gameheadsoakland.org.