As part of Black History Month, Turtle Beach is proud to celebrate and spotlight the achievements of Black leaders within our own community through a series of conversations.
Today we catch up with Erin Ashley Simon, a multi-media host/producer who continues to break barriers as one of the most prominent female personalities in the industry.
Turtle Beach: What do you think about when you hear “Black History Month”?
Erin Ashley Simon : When I hear “Black History Month,” I think about the journey, the challenges, the successes, and the beauty of my ancestors and the community. It’s a period of time for me to connect with my family’s past, to connect to the history that has changed my life, and to celebrate differences in the world. It’s a moment of learning and appreciation, a time of reflection and a moment to be proud of. It is one of many months that I use to further understand others and myself to strive for progressive change and to create beautiful events in history.
TB: When you were growing up, who inspired you? Who inspires you today?
EAS: My mom inspired me the most, she was someone who showed me what true strength is, during good times, bad times, and vulnerable times. She helped me learn how to be proud of myself, to love myself, and to be my biggest motivator. But, in addition to her, many people around me inspire me, whether they are my friends or not. Inspiration comes in many forms.
.@OffsetYRN bet on himself and said EVERYONE can catch these Mortal Kombat hands.
— Erin Ashley Simon (@erinasimon) February 27, 2020
TB: What would you say to your teenage self?
EAS: I would tell myself to work on yourself, to have a career that you love the most, and to get into the esports/gaming industry now! Don’t wait until later in your 20’s.
TB: What advice do you have for the younger generation?
EAS: The advice I have for the younger generation is to not worry if you don’t have things figured out right away. Whether you haven’t figured out your career or yourself. Because let me tell you, I’m almost 30 and I still don’t have everything figured out. Even people in their 40’s, 50’s and beyond don’t. So, don’t be too hard on yourselves.
TB: What is one thing you think people can do to keep the conversation about black history going not just in the month of February but all year long?
EAS: Research and truly learn the history of gaming. You’ll find out that some of the most notable and important people in gaming are/were black engineers, developers, and professionals. Also, talk to some of your friends who are black content creators. Uplift and support marginalized voices as well as everyone. It’s all about learning, understanding, and growing with each other. There are amazing people in the gaming community from all walks of life and backgrounds. If we spend more time listening and understanding, more amazing things can blossom from that in gaming.
TB: What is one thing you think people can do to better the efforts around diversity and inclusion?
EAS: It starts with understanding what diversity and inclusion means. Some people assume it means hiring someone based on the color of their skin and not hiring people because of their skills. That’s incorrect, it’s about providing an opportunity to every and all communities to truly find the best of the best in terms of talent. Not everyone is able to get the same chances when it comes to opportunities within this space. So, it’s not about putting others above the rest, it’s about making it so others have the same chances that everyone else has. So, everyone has an equal opportunity. THAT’S true diversity and inclusion.
TB: What do you want your impact on the world to be?
EAS: I want my impact to be that I’ve changed people’s lives through the work I do. Even if I only change 5, 3, or one person’s life. That’s what matters at the end of the day.
Erin Ashley Simon is a multi-media personality, host, and producer at the forefront of contemporary culture. Erin leverages her deep rooted connections in the music, entertainment, and gaming industries to create content that highlights the intersection between gaming and pop culture. Find Erin on Twitter, Instagram, and streaming live on Twitch.