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The death of George Floyd and the ongoing Black Lives Matter protests against racism and police brutality in America led to a flood of tributes from a number of video game companies last week - along with promises to make real change.
Sony pushed the PlayStation 5 reveal event back by a week out of respect to the cause, and recently pledged $1 million to support black communities across America. Activision delayed the launch of Season 4 of Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare and Warzone, and has made renewed promises to combat racist comments in its games.
Meanwhile, Rockstar Games took both Grand Theft Auto Online and Red Dead Online down for two hours last week, to "honour the legacy of George Floyd".
In the midst of all these tributes, silences, and promises to do better from companies and corporations, one group of GTA Online players got together and held their own virtual memorial in honour of George. OTRgamerTV is, admittedly, a relatively small YouTube channel with 10k subscribers - but that didn't stop them from gathering a procession of players to meet up in-game and pay tribute to both George and the Black Lives Matter movement.
The livestream saw over 60 people come together as the players, dressed in black, hosted a special car meet. The players involved drove through Los Santos, stopping occasionally to march together and salute George, while viewers and participants made donations to the Gianna Floyd Fund .
The video ends with the assembled crowd gathering outside a Los Santos police station before setting fire to it in protest against police brutality. Of course, we can't advise this is something you go out and do in real life - but as a form of protest in a video game, it's a pretty powerful image that results in zero damage to lives or property.
Lord knows we've all done much worse in Grand Theft Auto, and there's an actual message to this particular moment. You can see the whole thing for yourself below, or via this link.
"The tribute was initially suggested by our YouTube family," OTRGamerTV's Omar Khan and Raja Hussain told me over email. "We made the decision to take it to GTA Online as it's a universal platform and would reach the wider world to bring awareness to this cause. We wanted to use our voice and platform to show solidarity and stand beside our subscribers across the globe."
"It was an honour to have so many viewers join us live and donate during this stream," they continued. "To stand together and show unity to the Black Lives Matter campaign and bring awareness to the wider community was and is a privilege. We would like to show our support to the BAME community and fight against racism and oppression."
"Black Lives Matter doesn't mean all lives don't," they concluded. "It means acknowledging the systematic racism, discrimination, and violence against the black community."
OTRGamerTV intends to continue to use its platform to support the Black Lives Matter campaign going forward, and thanked everyone that got involved with the stream - whether as a viewer or a supporter. Be sure to check out the rest of channel's work right here.
Featured Image Credit: Rockstar Games, OTRgamerTV
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