Black Woman Says Goodbye To Kotaku

Black Woman Says Goodbye To Kotaku
Screenshot: Square Enix / Kotaku


After a year and some change and never seeing any of my coworkers’ beautiful faces in meatspace, I too must bid y’all farewell.

There was a time when I thought that this was going to be my only shot. I had convinced myself that I was so poor in skill and talent that Kotaku was going to be the only place I’d ever work and that someone would have to peel me off the walls to get me to leave. When Stephen Totilo left, I thought no one else would ever take a chance on me like he had, and that I had better do my damndest to ensure no-one had cause to let me go.

But working here with my ludicrously talented colleagues and editors I have grown so much, developed so far beyond the terrified woman who started here last May, that I now have a wonderful opportunity to spread my wings and fly.

For all my sorrow at leaving treasured friends, I am not sad. Today has given me a great gift, a sign that says, “It’s ok. You can go.”

Back in November I wrote a blog about holes. I enjoyed writing that blog. I made its lead image myself and was pleased with that bit of creativity. But for what was a fairly benign, tongue-in-cheek blog about trypophobia and why the Xbox Series X might not be my console of choice, I received the worst harassment I had ever experienced in all my years of being a Black woman on the internet. For a week, people sent me emails filled with trypo-trigger images for no other reason than to be cruel.

I’ve gotten over that time. I can look back on that moment with amusement, laughing that I made some of y’all so mad that you took the time to send me so many damn emails.

Today, thanks to the benevolence of Final Fantasy XIV director Naoki Yoshida, I was able to revive the spirit of that blog, writing another one about holes.

Another bone of contention with my haters is whenever I write about Black people doing things in video games. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a blog about Linda Guillory, a Black woman from Texas who earned two Guinness World Records for her collection of vintage handheld gaming machines.

The headline read, “Black Woman Gets Two World Records For Her Vast Vintage Gaming Collection” and folks yet again blew the fuck up over something that should have been so benign.

After that blog, I got in touch with Ms. Guillory and listened to her tell me her story of how she amassed such a beautiful collection. Today, on my last day, that story is live.

I like when things have symmetry. I like bookends. I was able to end my final day at Kotaku writing about the things that have come to represent my time here. My favourite pieces of work have been about Black people in gaming. My favourite game that I’ve discovered while working here is Final Fantasy XIV. My least favourite thing was that holes blog. Today, I’ve miraculously managed to find a way to write about all of those things, closing my chapter here, giving my heart the punctuation it needs to move on.

I will miss (some of) you. Take heart that I will still be in games journalism, still being horny on main and writing about Black people doing Black things in video games Black-ily. Thank you for what you’ve taught me, thank you for what you’ve shared. I won’t say goodbye, only see you later.

If I could summarize my time at Kotaku in a single quote, it’d be one from the eternally slept-on Paper Mario: The Origami King.

“This is what every Bob-Omb hopes for — a chance to change something for the better. To make an impact.”

I dearly hope I have.


  • Hi Ash,

    I loved reading your articles, they were unapologetically funny, witty, and never boring. You will be missed and wish you the best in your adventures.

  • Wow – can we all just take a moment to realise this self-entitled piece of work going by the name rompex23 feels as though they have the right to tell someone how they should feel about being black? My friend – that comment really does nothing other than show the world how spectacularly you don’t get it. I’m not even black and I find this comment just makes my shoulders drop and my whole body sigh as I realise how far we’ve got to go with getting people to have a goddamned clue about race.

  • Thank you for your patronising advices to black people. If only they’d had the benefit of your wisdom 100 years earlier.

  • Ash, you can always talk about black people, but they’re people first and we’d like to know more about their achievements as individuals who earned those achievements. Thank you for following up with Linda Guillory (and Alex, you need to fix the link since it goes to a dead page), because that’s exactly the article I was hoping to see when I first saw that headline. Well done.

      • Wow, I just read it. That’s what the original article should have been like.
        With that sort of journalism leaving Kotaku, it’s an actual shame.

        • I really enjoyed reading it, answered all of the questions I had about her collection and how she got into it. I wish everyone had more time to put that level of quality into every article.

  • It’s always charming to see what a cesspit the Kotaku comments section has become.

    “Be a good black person and do what the black person that I agree with says.”

    This is pathetic, gross and so frustratingly unsurprising.

  • If a bunch of comments disappeared, it’s because nothing was worth having that grossly offensive crap on the page (but thank you for everyone who provided some sanity in their rebuttals).

    • Get over it, man. And don’t end a long-winded diatribe with “peace to you all” when there is no peace in your heart.

    • Dude, seriously. My comment got deleted as well and even though I stand by my opinion, I accept that the mods don’t agree with how it was delivered and ultimately it is their site so they have the right to remove anything they feel doesn’t meet their community guidelines.

    • The problem isn’t what you’re saying, but how you’re saying it. To then personally attack people who don’t agree with you is awful. Screaming at people and attacking them is no way to get them to see your side of the argument.

      I agree that Linda’s article wasn’t great first time around, but Ash is new and she is learning. She is human and she will make mistakes. She’s also trying to cater to an American audience. Not us.

      Also, I was the one who alerted Alex to the comment because I was worried that your comment would incite arguments. Don’t blame AngoraFish when they didn’t do it. It’s also entirely possible that I wasn’t the only one. The tone of your comment was dripping with disdain. You can make a point without being a dick about it.

  • Hey Ash,
    I have enjoyed your articles over the last year and sad to see you leaving Kotaku’s ranks.
    I’m sure we’ll see you name around the internets in the future, so good luck and god speed.

  • Very sad to see you go, Ash. I enjoyed your much needed abd diverse perspective on gaming topics. It made me see things I wouldn’t normally, which after being pointed out, completely made sense.

    So thank you for that, and the best wishes with whatever the future brings.

  • Recently in Australia there was a huge uproar with the news headline “Three black players failed in the penalty shootout which lost the game 3-2 to Italy”

    This was met with world wide condemnation and was declared a racist headline.

    • I think if the person themselves likes to identify as that, who’s to stop them? With the news headline, we don’t know if they are okay with it. I personally don’t agree with it, but it’s the way Ash sees herself

    • Probably. But context is what people seem to not consider these days. Ash is black, wrote her own article, wrote her own headline. Is it *really* that much of a big deal, or are people just seeking to make it a big one for the hell of it?

      Or alternatively, read this as:

      White guy tells a bunch of people to get the fuck over it because it really, is a non issue and they’re just choosing to make it one 😉

      • Well if you had actual context to the title, the article went on to comment about how there was a huge racist backlash against the players because of their skin colour. This was ignored though because people had issue with the title using the word black to describe the players.

        White. Black. I don’t care either way. I’m of the camp people should be able to say what they want within reason but I always do find the weird double standard that exists amusing.

    • You are allowed to use the word “black”. The problem with that headline is what it implies. It hooks into existing bias against black players and lays blame at their feet.

      • Look I don’t know what the headline implied. Sure it was factually correct so I guess it’s ok. The real question is if they had won the game would the headline have read three black players are the heros. Or conversely if three white player had failed, three white player missed. That’s where equality comes into it, you can’t just call out one race unless you’re calling out all races all the time, which is not what happens in reality.

      • If memory serves the article was actually about the racist fans blaming the loss on the black players.

  • Probably. But context is what people seem to not consider these days. Ash is black, wrote her own article, wrote her own headline. Is it *really* that much of a big deal, or are people just seeking to make it a big one for the hell of it?

    Or alternatively, read this as:

    White guy tells a bunch of people to get over it because it really, is a non issue and they’re just choosing to make it one 😉

  • “I had convinced myself that I was so poor in skill and talent that Kotaku was going to be the only place I’d ever work”

    I mean I get she means she felt lucky working at Kotaku but I still had to laugh because it could easily be seen as a stab at the place.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!