Cosplayer and Twitch streamer Black Krystel is uplifting women in gaming

Our host Narz is bringing you a breakdown of everything happening in the world of gaming, introducing you to rising stars in the industry and special guests every episode in this collab with Complex Networks.

Twitch isn’t just for streaming video games — artists are now using the platform to connect with fans, host performances and flex their creativity. 

Black Krystel joins host Narz in this episode of The Power Up. As a cosplayer and musician, Black Krystel is using Twitch in unexpected ways. She chatted with Narz about her eclectic influences, nerdcore and supporting women in the gaming industry. 

“I’m a very avid community member of electronic music but I come from hip hop,” Black Krystel told Narz. “I come from pop. I love K-pop. I love anime openings. My music is trying to find some crazy way to encapsulate all of those loves into this nerdcore sound, I think is what people on the internet like to call it now.” 

While most nerdcore artists focus on covers and remixes of anime theme songs, Black Krystel creates her own original music like “Waifu/Wifey.” Waifu refers to a fictional, usually anime, female character that one has affection for. 

You might say Black Krystel has cosplayed as many of her waifus, like Re:ZeroRem and Catwoman.

“For me a lot of the time I think about the characters that I love in a lot of the works that I play or watch,” she said of her cosplay choices. “Whether it’s anime or video games. When I see a character that really resonates with me and who I am it goes on the list.” 

But like in most other spaces, women don’t exactly get their fair shake in the gaming world. 

“As a gamer, I always gravitated towards playing as women characters,” Black Krystel said. “There was something special about being able to be a badass chick. But in the gaming industry women protagonists are kind of looked down on for a title. You know those titles aren’t successful or they might not do as well.”

Black Krystel took that as a “call to action.” It inspired her weekly Twitch series “Waifu Wednesday” where she highlights women in games.

“I really wanted to show that there can be really awesome women in the gaming space. Whether it’s in the game or around the game or behind the game,” Black Krystel said. “There are games out there that ladies can resonate with too and be able to see such empowering women in these positions was really important to me.” 

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If you liked this story, check out The Power Up episode on the intersection between basketball and video games.

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