Cxmmunity is still on a mission to make esports accessible at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

The Black-owned non–profit spearheaded by Christopher Peay and Ryan Johnson has announced its second annual HBCU Esports League Verizon Celebrity Pro-Am. Students will compete in Uno and Fortnite alongside celebrity figures including T-Pain, Brett Gray, Mike Evans, Erin Ashley Simon, Allisha Gray, Bas, Tarik Cohen, FaZe Swagg, Sonny Digital, and more.

“We want to continue elevating and raising awareness around HBCU esports programs while showing these schools and these students that there are really cool people in sports, entertainment, and music supporting the gaming space,” Johnson told AfroTech exclusively.

In addition to playing alongside celebrity favorites, students can also look forward to a prize pool of $10,000 with $2,000 for the Uno segment that will be donated to the school’s esports programs and $8,000 for the Fortnite tournament to support student scholarships. Johnson hopes the event will remind minority gamers there is a space for them in the industry.

“We are building a bigger table. Historically, the Black community has not looked at gaming or video games as a space where you actually can grow and thrive. We started this when we learned that 83 percent of African-American teens played video games on a weekly basis, but only two percent of video game developers are African American. With that being said, our message is there are spaces in this industry for us. We help drive a lot of the culture when it comes to gaming,” Johnson said.

He continued: “When you look into the industry, you do not see people that look like us. HBCU Esports will show gaming is not just a tool of distraction but in many other ways used as a tool of empowerment and education. We want our audience to take away from this ‘Wow, I didn’t know that I can work within gaming. I didn’t know that I could be a coder’ or ‘I didn’t know I can be a graphic designer.’”

$200K To Support Creation of Esports Labs At Five HBCUs

Their previous HBCU Esports League attracted nearly 1.3 million viewers to its live programming. This year, the participation nearly doubled. Therefore, audience reach is projected to be considerably higher. Johnson hopes the increased exposure will help attract more gamers to the esports space at HBCUs.

What’s more, Cxmmunity will donate $200,000 to support esports labs at five HBCUs. This was made possible thanks to Verizon’s $1 million commitment to build on Cxmmunity’s efforts, as AfroTech previously mentioned. The selected schools are Delaware State University, Dillard University, Morgan State University, Howard University, and Texas Southern University.

The event takes place on on March 27 starting at 4:00 p.m. EST.