Celebrate Black History Month in VR

Oculus Blog
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February 28, 2022
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Black History Month is a time for reflection, remembrance, and celebration of the significant impact that Black people have had on the world. Today, we’re highlighting a selection of content and events to help you experience Black history and culture in immersive new ways. We’ll update this blog post every Monday of the month to add new things to check out throughout February.

First up, here are all the ways to celebrate in Horizon Venues:


“As Soon as They Can Talk” Monique Marshall
February 8 // 6:00 – 7:07 pm PT

We must raise our children differently if we want to dismantle systemic racism in America. A mother and educator who has worked with young children for 30 years, Monique Marshall shares her personal journey toward self awareness and learning about the systemic nature of race and racism in America.


“Burn Baby Burn” - Tyree Boyd-Pates
February 15 // 6:00 – 7:03 pm PT

Tyree Boyd-Pates is a dynamic history curator, professor, writer, and speaker who expounds on Black culture from a millennial vantage and mobilizes communities of color. “Burn Baby, Burn: Historical Reflections of Los Angeles’s Uprisings” is a talk that revisits how in Los Angeles, CA, uprisings and rebellions are not merely caused by filmed accounts of police brutality. Instead, they are brought about from decades of racist policy, police repression, and inequitable conditions (housing, education, medically) for communities of color—especially for African Americans—causing them to erupt.


Big Freedia
February 22 // 6:00 – 7:29 pm PT

The Queen Diva has arrived. Come get down with the legendary New Orleans-based hip-hop artist and worldwide ambassador of Bounce music for a night that’s guaranteed to be so hot the walls will start to sweat.


There are also plenty of ways to immerse yourself in Black history and culture beyond Horizon Venues.


Traveling While Black

A free cinematic VR experience from Academy Award-winning director Roger Ross Williams, Traveling While Black explores the history of restriction of movement for Black Americans and the creation of safe spaces in our communities. The 360° footage draws us into living history lessons told around a booth in Ben’s Chili Bowl, a Washington, DC restaurant that has been a mainstay of the African-American community since 1958, bearing witness to significant Civil Rights milestones that are woven into the film in powerful snippets of footage.


IN PROTEST Docu-Series: Made by Black Immersive Storytellers

A 360° VR film docu-series, IN PROTEST chronicles the heroic Black voices in America confronting inequality and injustice today. Watching the series in VR gives you a front row seat to the Black Lives Matter movement, both for those unable to physically participate and for those that want to learn more from activists on the ground.

Check out the full series in Oculus TV on the Quest Platform:


The People’s House: Inside the White House with Barack and Michelle Obama

The People’s House poignantly captures an important moment in American culture, letting people around the world step inside the spheres of President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama. Never before have so many people been able to share an intimate moment with a head of state, showing one of the many ways that VR can break down barriers and connect us.


NeuroSpeculative AfroFeminism

This award-winning narrative project from Hyphen-Labs combines technology, product design, and haircare to posit a speculative future of black women advancing the fields of cognitive science within the cultural frame of a feminist Afrofuturism.


Rangi

This adventure puzzle game draws its inspiration from the tribal art, ancient architecture, rhythmic music, and landscapes of Africa. Based in Casablanca, Morocco, the developer Funsoft prides itself on the ability to fuse industry expertise with African cultural heritage.


Looking for more ways to celebrate Black History Month in VR? Check back each Monday during the month of February for an update.


Update 2/7/2022: As Black History Month continues, we’re highlighting more content available on Quest.


Goodby Mr. Octopus
It’s Stella’s 16th birthday, and her father thinks she’s too young to travel with her soccer team all the way to Australia. Upset, she blames her father for being overprotective and the reason her mother left them. But then a letter from her mother shifts Stella’s perspective. As the words from her mother’s letter come to life around you, follow Stella as she explores the story of how her parents first met, journeys through her own past, and learns what it means to grow up. This heartfelt coming-of-age short film was entirely hand-animated in VR with Quill and selected for the 77th Venice Film Festival.


Your Attention Please Season 2
Host Craig Robinson takes us on a journey into the lives, ideas, and dreams of a diverse group of Black innovators and creators who are leaving their mark on the world.


Update 2/14/2022: As Black History Month continues, we’re highlighting more content available on Quest.


Dear John: Legendary Love Letters
In honor of Valentine’s Day, Facebook and John Legend teamed up to make a mini-series called #DearJohn—stories from you and about your love.


360° Tour of National Museum of African American History
Take a 360° look inside the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, courtesy of ABC News.


Update 2/21/2022: As Black History Month continues, we’re highlighting more content available on Quest.


The Fade
February 23 // 7:00 – 7:54 pm PT

The Fade is an observational documentary that explores the lives of four barbers across the world. Following their weekly routines and adventures in Ghana, Jamaica, the US, and London, the film creates an emotive account of business and enterprise in the 21st Century through a unique brand of masculinity and brotherhood. Through the four main characters, we explore the cultural importance of barbering as an institution throughout marginalized communities. The Fade unravels what the profession really means to the four men and what inspires their desire to succeed. Interweaving an international dialogue that aligns an image of a profession separated by location, The Fade is a revealing insight into a world behind a window of Black men and the idiosyncratic nature, social importance, and traditions of men in the hair business.


PULLED OVER
Pulled Over is about four high school students who are questioned, detained, and searched by police officers while on their way home. It’s the story for many Black Americans for whom prejudice is an everyday occurrence—whether it’s a suspicious gaze or tragic act of violence. For people whose skin color grants them immunity from unjustified scrutiny, it can be difficult to imagine what experiencing discrimination is like. It is the director’s hope that this film will be a piece in fostering more empathy and understanding of the oppression Black Americans face.


You’ll also find two playlists of music videos from Black artists: one devoted to all things Rock & Roll featuring the likes of Chuck Berry, James Brown, Prince, Janelle Monáe, and more, and another featuring Afrobeats from WizKid, Tiwa Savage, Naira Marley, and more.


Update 2/28/2022: As Black History Month concludes, we’re highlighting more content available on Quest.


Hulu’s New 2D series: Your Attention Please, Season 3
Hulu is back with Season 3 of the popular series Your Attention Please, to showcase inspiring Black artists, talent, and voices. Hosted by Craig Robinson, the series takes you on a journey into the lives, ideas, and dreams of a diverse group of Black innovators and creators who are leaving their mark on the world. Normally, you would need a Hulu subscription to watch these episodes, but Oculus TV on the Quest Platform is hosting all four 2D episodes for you to enjoy for free!


ISS Tour with Victor Glover - Space Explorers
Astronaut Victor Glover joins us from Earth to give a tour of the International Space Station. Click here to learn more.