#CrownAndGlory: 5 questions with JazzyGuns
Inspired by spring – a season for renewal and reaping the fruits of our labor – we’ve launched #CrownAndGlory, a month-long series celebrating Black women creators who have been hard at work planting seeds to build a better world for themselves and the next generation of content creators. By telling these stories, we hope to give this community their overdue flowers (or praise) and empower more creators to share their story both on and off YouTube.
YouTube Gaming creator JazzyGuns has been playing video games since she was 4 years old. These days, she’s not only entertaining thousands with her electrifying live streams but also using her platform to motivate Black girls to embrace their love for video games, comics, anime and everything that makes up their most authentic selves.
As part of our #CrownAndGlory series, we sat down with JazzyGuns to talk about the importance of representation in gaming and how she is planting seeds to empower the next generation of gaming creators on YouTube.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
For those who have yet to follow you, introduce yourself and tell us a bit about your channel.
My name is Jasmine AKA JazzyGuns. I play a variety of video games, from Among Us to Fortnite; from Resident Evil to Telltale choice games. Anything that you can think of, I’ve probably touched it. I just love playing with friends and being competitive and loud and aggressive in my videos. So my channel is very, very loud. [laughs]
Do you recall the moment you decided to become a YouTube creator?
I started my YouTube journey on a reaction channel with my boyfriend Dwayne on our main channel, Dwayne N Jazz. But in my free time, I play video games a lot. And looking at the gaming industry on YouTube, I was seeing people that didn’t look like me. So, I thought, maybe I should show people that I also play video games, and that I’m good at them. Thankfully, everybody liked it, so that's why I kept going.
The heart and purpose of my channel is to show that women like me do exist: There are Black female creators that do gaming, and we belong in this space. Growing up, I didn't see people that look like me do anything in the gaming industry or we weren't represented. That's why I try to be that representation for the little girls that didn't get to see that when they were growing up.
If you could have a conversation with your younger self about what you've accomplished today, what would you say?
I would say to my younger self to stop being so shy and don’t be afraid to show people your more fun side, your more outgoing side. If people in high school were to see me today, they'd be like, “Oh, who is this?” Because they didn’t see that in school, I was just the quiet, shy girl in the corner doing my work. But now I'm more outgoing and I’m trying to reach out to people more because I’m an introvert – I still am, so I’m kind of trying to work on that.
In your own words, why is it important to tell Black women's stories?
It's very important to tell Black women's stories because in history our stories are not shared or they're not given the credit that they deserve. Our voices are important because we already don't see a lot of representation in the media [outside] of hair, make-up – the normal categories that they put us in. We need more representation in [other categories] so that we can see ourselves being that person in the future. We can see as little girls that we can do that and we can accomplish more than what people usually put us in a box to do.
And I hope that little girls who are Black can grow up and say “Hey, I can do the same thing she’s doing” and not be afraid to share their nerdiness...”
What seeds do you hope to plant for the next generation of gaming creators?
I hope that I can inspire everyone to mostly be themselves. A lot of people on social media nowadays feel like you have to do a certain thing to be trendy or to go viral and to get noticed. And I feel like just being yourself is enough. Being yourself is the most unique thing you can do.
And I hope that little girls who are Black can grow up and say “Hey, I can do the same thing she’s doing” and not be afraid to share their nerdiness or not be afraid to show that they like gaming, comics and anime – and just embrace it.