Streaming giant Twitch is joining forces with Cxmmunity to help close the diversity gap in the gaming industry develop by developing the first-ever esports leagues geared specifically for Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Students at HBCUs will receive scholarship and educational support through its Twitch Student program, and the San Francisco-based Twitch will help the schools expand esports programs, the company announced July 30.

Cxmmunity, an Atlanta-based non-profit “committed to increasing participation in minority esports through STEAM development,” was co-founded by Chris Peay, a graduate of an HBCU. He says he knows firsthand about the lack of representation in the gaming industry.

“Growing up we’re often taught you get good grades so that you can get into a good college, graduate from that college, and find a good job,” Peay said in a statement. “Very seldom do we talk about entrepreneurship, let alone entrepreneurship within the esports and video game industry. It’s actually frowned upon in some fashion.”

More than 200 universities in North America have esports teams or clubs associated with Tespa, the National Association of Collegiate Esports and Collegiate Star League, Engadget reports, citing a statement from Twitch. But only one of those universities, Morehouse College in Atlanta, is an HBCU.

HBCUs are institutions of higher learning that were founded before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to serve the African-American community. There are 101 HBCUs in the United States, including Spelman College, Howard University, Morehouse College, North Carolina A&T State University, Florida A&M University and Tuskegee University.

While an estimated 83 percent of Black teens play video games, 68 percent of video game creators are of European or Caucasian descent, according to data from the International Game Developers Association.

Twitch and Cxmmunity are aiming to close that diversity gap with this program by opening the “pipeline for Black talent in the esports industry,” the statement said.


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