Black Culture Community Page

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“Black culture is so multidimensional, driven by the depths of our real life multicultural backgrounds and experiences. There are so many different aspects and micro-societies within the Black community on Second Life. Though skin tone is an identifying factor, the community is complex at the same time that it is rich, colorful, and quite diverse.” — ZoeyNova Oatsmill

Customize Your Avatar

Join the Black community in Second Life today by creating an avatar you feel truly represents you. With items made by and for a global society, the options here are the most inclusive in the metaverse. Individualize your avatar’s body, hair, style, and more!

“The first thing I looked for were Black creators and products so that I could make an avatar that represented me." — Yanna Snow

“Representation of Black culture in Second Life is extremely important to me as I value kinship and community. Being able to see other Black Second Life players explore their creativity here is truly inspiring.” — Sage Absinthe

Vrutega, a new Second Life Resident who is already creating visually striking and memorable machinima, speaks on what it was like to create his first avatar.

“Second Life allows you to alter your avatar and create any kind of form you can think of. My friends helped me create an avatar that I felt best represented me. I am grateful to be surrounded by a creative machinima community that hosts a lot of video producers, instructors and other aspiring filmmakers. I have the honor to be associated with two prominent figures in the Black machinima community: Shawn Gunner and Sergio Castellanos.”

Black Community and Family in Second Life

Humans have survived — and flourished — by living in communities since the beginning of time. Community and community building are vital to conversations about identity and equity.

“When we intentionally create a community for the purpose of a shared goal, it can deepen relationships, create feelings of belonging, and provide support for the health and wellbeing of all members. Community is a gateway to better understand our own lives and the lives of others and creates an essential foundation for people working toward common goals.”

“Like many other African Americans I view all Black people as my extended family. My most memorable experiences came from roleplaying in a family. My SL mom, being a Black woman of Ghanian ancestry introduced me to her culture and made my time on this platform so much richer by giving me family and love. My roleplay daughter is Jamaican and quite honestly one of the brightest and funniest people I know. I'm forever thankful to her and all who have entered my life and stayed thus far.”
Yanna Snow

Findings from Pew Research Center surveys conducted in recent years show that most Black adults feel that they are part of a broader Black community, and see their race as important to how they think of themselves.

“Black culture is rich because it is from the soul. When you see Blackness in real life, what you are seeing is a soul of a people. Some of us displaced from generations; some of us with long lineages of old worlds and traditions. From the way we talk, to the beliefs we hold, to our own language (African American Vernacular English, and the international derivatives of it), Blackness is a life force of Second Life.” — Dondallia Graves, founder of The Black Excellence Project

Black Culture and Events in Second Life

Culture is a reflection of community — it encompasses music, arts, social habits, language, religion, cuisine, and much more. Priceless traditions are passed on throughout history, and they are also honored in Second Life. From festivals to live performances and political activism, Black history is celebrated all year long.

As Resident Sergio Castellanos says, "Beta Omega Iota hosts a Black history month event every year that is always informative and inspirational. They have hosted informational live roleplay events where the audience has had the opportunity to talk to historical Black figures and experience the world through their eyes."

Explore African American and global Black culture and events in Second Life.

The Meroe Museum is an interactive region in Second Life featuring two exhibit halls and a gallery showcasing Black Residents. Ras Solaris, curator of the Meroe, describes it as a “hub to learn the origins of all cultures in an interactive and engaging way. {It’s} Focused on providing a safe space for people to discuss cultural differences and to challenge current ways of thinking.” Read more about Ras and this exhibit in this blog post.

“A memorable story I have is when a friend of mine, Micah D. Amaudi (abstrack.mercury), owner of Abstrak Studios, curated a spectacular gallery show showcasing various talented Black multidisciplinary artists in Second Life, including myself. The opening show felt like something out of a movie. There was great exchange of art, culture, music and commerce.” — Sage Absinthe

“One of my most memorable experiences within the Black community of Second Life is attending the DOPE Awards this year. It was an honor sitting in a room with so many talented people of the Black community. Seeing how many people have helped shape this Second Life community, and the talents coming from it was such an amazing experience for me.” — Janessa Westwood Neil

“I started The Black Excellence Project back in 2016 as a more community/skills driven extension of H.A.M. (Harnessing Awareness of the Movement), which was a Black awareness organization in Second Life. At the time, H.A.M. was holding town halls to allow Second Life Residents to voice their concerns about the racial injustices happening in the real world, and how it was affecting them and their experience here… Faced with the inevitable question of 'What do we do about it (racism)?' I turned to intellectualism/information literacy, industriousness, civics, and community service. That’s when The Black Excellence Project was born." — Dondallia Graves

“In 2018, I created a “Grab ‘Em by the Midterms!” event, where I created an interactive polling place to teach Second Life residents the importance of voting in the midterms. I ran a “Register to Vote” drive as a part of the event. Members could come and learn about Republicans, Democrats, and other parties and their values and plans for the American people, and then practice the voting process from start to finish.”
— Dondallia Graves

“My favorite events come from the Greek side of Second Life. There are many Black fraternities and sororities that host amazing events for good causes. I may be biased, but my favorite that I have been a part of is the Prima Fest for breast cancer research that our sorority Sigma Iota Nu hosted last October. “The goal of Sigma Iota Nu is to provide a means for women, particularly women of color, to grow and develop well-rounded skills and ambitions in the Second Life community. The Founding Primas wanted to create a space for other Black women to be creative, independent, virtuous and captivating. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, Black Girls Rock organization, and the pro-Black culture they decided to shed light on the difficulties faced as Black women.” — Yanna Snow

“One of the events I was involved with was called Stand For Justice. Its proceeds went toward charities like Black Lives Matter, Black Visions Collective, Campaign Zero, the National Police Accountability Project, and a Split Bail Fund benefitting a growing list of bail funds nationwide... The Black experience is not meant to only focus on its past and current struggles but to bring forth the drive and perseverance born through Black culture, thus expanding and diversifying standards no matter the medium - whether it’s photography, art or music. This allows for representation behind and through the lens of the camera.” — Prophet

Read this issue of ECLIPSE Magazine for interviews with seven Second Life Residents involved in the Black Lives Matter movement inworld or in their real lives.

Destinations

These are just a few of the Second Life destinations where visitors can learn about or experience Black culture. These intricately designed regions are composed entirely of user-generated content, making cultural exchanges accessible to all. Where will you start?

Nelson Mandela Plaza

Want to talk to others about recent events? Join in the current political protests and make your voice heard at the Nelson Mandela Plaza. Named after the South African revolutionary, this region is dedicated to free speech and equality.

Walls of Freedom

Walls of Freedom is based on the book of the same name portraying the first three years of the Egyptian revolution that began on January 25, 2011, told through striking images of art that transformed Egypt's walls into a visual testimony of bravery and resistance. This is an ongoing build where fiction meets nonfiction or is it where nonfiction meets fiction?

Eatonville Museum

Welcome to Eatonville, a living, interactive museum paying homage to the strength and beauty of the African-American diaspora through an examination of popular Black Literature. Walk around the town and turn your sounds on to feel lived experiences of African-Americans through the times, through an exploration of culturally-affirming Black literature.

Little Kenya Restaurant

Share in the experience and love of Kenya at this cozy mainland restaurant in Corsica. Visit Little Kenya Restaurant to enjoy a full course, self-serve meal in a lush atmosphere. Afterwards, you can visit with wildlife at this peaceful location off Circuit la Corse.

Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman HERO is an art installation by London Junkers at the Eye Arts. To understand the piece better it is recommended you click the book near the fireplace lectern to receive the poem in which this build is inspired, then add it from your inventory to read. The installation stands as a symbol against oppression and pays homage to one of the bravest women, Harriet Tubman.

Pour Up Winery

Pour Up Winery & Vineyard offers many different kinds of high-quality wine. Visit and explore the winery and vineyard where you can enjoy wine tasting, help make wine, go horse-riding, ziplining or paint and sip. Sit back and enjoy the amazing scenery and great wine. Check out this Spotlight post for more info on the creator, Mach K. Disick (BhampagnePapi).

Black Business Owners and Creators

Part of achieving social equity involves highlighting the skills, perspectives, and contributions of people from historically marginalized communities. Just as it is important to support Black businesses in the physical world, Black creators of Second Life benefit from purchases, visibility, and other forms of support.

“Some of my most memorable experiences are meeting and collaborating with other Black artists from all over the grid. Being in Black spaces and sharing creative machinima concepts and ideas is extremely invaluable to me as an artist.” — Vrutega

“As the years have gone by there have been some amazing young creators who have learned the craft of creating things that Black people value here. Hair, clothes, shoes, random and miscellaneous items. Cars, home décor, and accessories. I remember being SO amazed the day that I walked into a traditional 'Papi store' [Bodega], and saw bags of chips, penny candy, and a roll of lottery scratch-offs. It was as comforting to me as a warm hug, because I had been here for YEARS but wasn’t seeing things that represented me or my culture. I had shopped here for years, but hadn’t until recently, seen Black women on advertisements from mainstream brands.”
— Dondallia Graves

Fashion is a huge part of self-expression in Second Life, and Black Residents create vibrant and iconic looks every day. From designing clothes and accessories to modeling and blogging, these stylish avatars cannot be missed.

"The diversity in SL has come a long way. Of course as a blogger and continual shopper in SL, there are so many hair and skin brands that I absolutely love. When I started playing Second Life, in SL & RL I was very much into punk style: piercings, tattoos, all of it, and I thought it was so cool to be able to have that reflected in my avatar. I still very much love that style, but through Second Life, I've been able to experiment with a ton of different styles, as pretty much any style you can think of can be found in Second Life." — Sydd Sinister

Don't forget to check out our Lab Gab interview with Soull Starlight and Yukiko Yeshto for a tour of Eatonville Living History Museum.

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