[Interview] Women/Nonbinary Individuals in Horror [RekItRaven]

We sat down virtually with Raven, the person behind the #TwitchDoBetter movement. We discuss how Twitch can actually do better amidst the hate raids and follow botting, making Partner amidst the unsafe environment on the platform, the importance of community, and how important it is to be yourself no matter what and always shoot your shot (cause you never know where it might take you)!

Monster Thoughts: You’ve had quite a bit of buzz in September because of the hate raids and the hashtag you created, #TwitchDoBetter. Since then, Twitch has released a few emails on the situation, you’ve spoken with several people at Twitch, interviewed with countless news outlets, and helped push the #SubOffTwitch movement. In regard to streaming and content creation, do you feel this experience has negatively changed your outlook on streaming or content creation, and if so what would you recommend, if anything (perhaps something you’ve used), that may help other streamers cope with the negative aspects of streaming?

RekItRaven: My feelings from this experience have a lot to do with Twitch but I’m angrier at the people who are doing these heinous things. Obviously, Twitch has a hand in this because this was allowed to thrive from some serious oversight in security on the platform. I still love content creation and I love the community that I’ve built on the platform. If I didn’t love Twitch in my own semi-sado-masochistic way then I would fight for change on it. It’s easy to walk away, but to stand and raise your voice in the face of fear is where heroes are made and I’m so glad to see so many others emerge into greatness. However, I understand the apprehension because I feel that too. I think other creators need to really assess if they are comfortable fighting for this for the long run and do so without guilt if their answer is no. There’s no one right way to handle all of this, it’s very personal. If people choose to keep pushing on the platform I’d recommend finding a group of moderators, using tools like Sery_bot, checking out hateraidresponse.carrd.co and reaching out for help when needed.

MT: We all know Twitch has a long way to go in terms of truly making all of their streamers feel safe and welcome on their platform. We noticed quite a few times others were wrongly attributed the creation of the #TwitchDoBetter hashtag. We know you expressed discomfort with that happening, but made it clear the movement wasn’t about you—it was about Twitch doing better for all marginalized creators. Do you have anything to share with those that may see their original ideas co-opted or completely stolen entirely by others in the content creation sphere? What do you think is the best way to cope with this if/when it happens?

Raven: I think a lot of people will make a movement, saying, tag, etc. what they think it means for them personally, but I think there are a lot of people who want the spotlight. A lot of people do silly things for selfish reasons but it bothers me when non-marginalized creators try to jump on the bandwagon and capitalize on Black and Brown trauma. I don’t wish the harassment I’ve received on anyone and I don’t think a lot of people who are co-opting understand what it entails. The only thing you can do is be as honest and transparent as possible and continue to stand up for yourself.

MT: Very well said. The issues of Twitch and content creation/streaming aside, you’ve fostered quite a dedicated community dubbed The Underworld (love the name, by the way). What are the most important aspects for you of having such a dedicated community in streaming, and what do you feel they add to your streams in particular while your live (and even offline)?

I think the most important aspect of having this community is that I stopped trying to get everyone to like me and I encourage others to do the same. I think it’s important to foster a community that’s comfortable taking a stance (even if it’s in opposition) to what I think so we can talk about it. I also love that it feels like home and that people feel comfortable enough to really blossom into themselves. They definitely add a sense of comfort for me, they’ve become an extension of me and as the community leader they push me to always do and be my best even if that’s me being vulnerable in not being my best.

Raven, being unapologetically themself.

MT: You’ve created the Underworld Charity Stream Team. How important would you say charity streams are to streaming as a whole, and what would you say to the aspiring streamers that feel they must conduct charity streams often in order to be a streamer at all?

I think charity streams are one piece to a bigger puzzle, much like everything else but charity is a choice. No one should feel bad for not doing charity streaming because it tends to be much more stressful but they can be fun too! I think the level of importance is up to the creator themselves to decide. You don’t have to do anything in the content creation space that you don’t want to. I’d recommend listing pros and cons if you’re on the fence about charity streaming.

I love horror movies. There’s something that really just feeds into that primal fight or flight response that gets me.

Texas Chainsaw Massacre (1974) | Vortex

MT: You were recently Partnered on the platform! Congrats! How does it feel to be Partnered and what advice for aspiring Partners would you give to any streamers out there seeking to reach the coveted status on the platform? Would you say the accomplishment of Partnership has been diminished slightly or tainted for you by the incessant hate raids currently still happening on the platform? If so, how do you seek to use your new status to continue to combat Twitch’s lack of privacy and safety?

Thank you! Honestly, it feels good but it feels like any other day. Partner was a goal of mine but it was never the end-all-be-all. There is still so much to be done. I went for partner because I think it’s important to prove a point. I (alongside many other marginalized people) have consistently been told that if we are vocal about issues on the platform we’d not be offered any opportunities for growth. So while this was a goal of mine this became a statement for me. I wanted to show that you can speak up about inequality and still progress in this business as a marginalized person.

My accomplishments are mine regardless of what’s happening around me. The hate raids continue but I’ve found myself in a position to elevate and thus raise my voice further to combat them. They can keep hating. I’m still gonna speak out on it, help bring the community together and push for change on the platform. We deserve to be treated equal, we deserve to exist. We deserve peace, safety and the pursuit of happiness. No one can take that from us.

MT: I commend you for keeping your eyes on the prize and owning your successes! You were also a 2021 Broadcast Her recipient! Congrats! How useful has or will the grant be in aiding your streaming endeavors? What advice do you have for streamers looking to apply for the grant in the future?

Raven: I was able to up my audio equipment. I got a goXLR and a Shure SM7B microphone which I plan on using to work on voice acting and laying additional framework down to be a true professional in this space.
My advice; Do it. Talk yourself up, be open and honest about what you want to do in this space. Let your passion paint the picture of who you are. Once you start really believing in yourself you’re unstoppable and don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is a good thing. It means you know what doesn’t work so you can focus on what might!

MT: And last question, how much do you enjoy horror movies if at all and what’s your favorite? What do you have planned this Halloween for yourself/your community, if anything?

Raven: I love horror movies. There’s something that really just feeds into that primal fight or flight response that gets me. I don’t know if I have a single favorite but I enjoy The Hills Have Eyes (older and newer), Texas Chainsaw Massacre (older and newer) and Hellraiser even though it’s hokey as hell lol. We’re probably gonna be playing a LOT of indie horror games and I’d love to be able to stream Candyman!

MT: Raven, I want to thank you for wanting to be part of this event, sharing your insight with streaming and Twitch! We look forward to see what you accomplish next!

Raven (They/Them/She) is a chaotic good activist, content creator & partner on Twitch. They play a variety of games but horror will always be home. They also talk about things like racial inequality, politics, LGBTQIA2+ rights, mental health and more!

You can find Raven at any of their links below!

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