Ngozi Nwanji Mar 8, 2022
When Mark Zuckerberg first announced the mission for Meta, he made it known that the social platform was “going to be the metaverse.” Since its rebrand, Meta has launched various initiatives to make sure the Black community is represented in the virtual reality space from creatives to entrepreneurs.
AfroTech previously reported on the company’s Meta Elevate program, where for its inaugural cohort, Ciara selected 10 Black-owned businesses to receive marketing mentorship from the tech giant.
Recently, in timing with Black History Month, Meta launched the Metaverse Culture Series — a year-long virtual reality initiative that aims to collaborate with Black leaders and creators to ultimately create more inclusivity in tech, an Oculus blog post shared. The new series announced VR artist Gabe Gault as its first Artist in Residence. According to the Los Angeles-based artist, the partnership came after Meta saw his work in the metaverse space. With the series’ launch, he believes it will empower fellow Black creators.
“I believe the Metaverse Culture Series is important because it gives Black people a voice in the space, as well as a message that we can really bring our influence to the space,” Gault told AfroTech.
I Am a Man
To celebrate Black History Month, the Los-Angeles based artist debuted his VR experience, “I Am a Man,” which takes its audience back in time to Memphis in the 1960s.
With his artistic contribution revolving around civil rights heroes such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, as well as Afrofuturism, Gault literally brought Black history to life.
The VR experience, hosted in Horizon Worlds, was open to the public throughout February.
“Overall, the reactions have been extremely positive, and people love the exhibit,” Gault shared. “I’ve been told it’s educational and inspirational to the viewer. That’s what I intended for and glad it came to life working with the Meta team.”
Metaverse Culture Series: Black Future
Along with his historical exhibition, Gault joined a group for a roundtable discussion that focused on how to ensure that more Black people have accessibility to entering the metaverse and its evergrowing opportunities.
According to a Forbes report, the conversation featured: Meta executive Ime Archibong, Immersive Technologist Paris McCoy, For(bes) The Culture’s Founder Rashaad Lambert, content creator Danielle Young, HuffPost Editor Philip Lewis, and Head of Cultural Moments & Product Equity Communications Vivian Ewalefo Johnson.
Ngozi Nwanji is a Nigerian-American journalist, writer, and content creator from and based in Silver Spring, Maryland with a passion for storytelling, media representation, and music. Along with for AfroTech, she’s a contributing writer for Baltimore-based outlet The 4th Quarter and the founder of her own entertainment website, Z’s P.O.V – a platform for underrated music and Black creatives.