Today marks the conclusion of Black History Month in the US and Canada, while the UK and Netherlands hold their annual observance in October—a great reminder that Black history is world history and always worth celebrating. That’s why we’re highlighting a selection of immersive content across the Oculus Platform that acknowledges the lasting impact of Black culture across the African diaspora to educate and inspire.
Tour the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture in 360°
Originally proposed by Black Civil War veterans in 1915, the National Museum of African American History and Culture finally opened its doors in September 2016. If you aren’t able to make it to the National Mall in Washington, DC, you can still check out some museum highlights and signature artifacts. Watch the full 360° video online or in VR with the Littlstar VR Cinema app on Rift and Gear VR.
I Am A Man
Developed by NC State University College of Design Professor Derek A. Ham, I Am A Man is an interactive VR experience that lets people experience the 1968 Memphis Sanitation Workers Strike and the events leading up to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The project was selected as an Oculus Launch Pad 2017 Scholarship recipient, and it will join the National Civil Rights Museum as a permanent installation to commemorate #MLK50, the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s assassination. To learn more, click here.
MOCA: Kerry James Marshall
The Kerry James Marshall: Mastry exhibit—a 35-year retrospective of the renowned artist’s work—toured from Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art to The Met Breuer in New York before coming to the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles in Spring 2017. This was the first time that roughly 80 of Marshall’s works were brought together in the same physical space, and it’s accessible for free on Gear VR. To learn more, click here.
Masters of the Sun
Blending animation and the aesthetics of our favorite splash pages, Masters of the Sun explores the harsh reality of daily life in America’s urban enclaves. star-studded vocal cast including Queen Latifah, Jamie Foxx, Rakim, Ice T, and more, bring the story to life, exploring themes as diverse as Egyptology and gang culture with an emphasis on social critique. Get the first four episodes for free on Gear VR. Check out our VR Visionaries interview with will.i.am to learn more.
Coming to the Oculus Platform later this year, 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. Click here to learn more.
Mary Spio + CEEK VR
From a participant in our 2015 Mobile VR Jam to a member of our VR for Good Creators Lab Advisory Board, Mary Spio has rapidly established herself as a trusted voice in VR content creation. She currently serves as Founder, Chief Visionary, & Product Architect at CEEK VR—a developer of VR and AR entertainment experiences as well as immersive educational content. Recently, CEEK VR received a grant from Oculus Education to develop medical training scenarios specifically designed for nurses. And Spio was named as one of The Root’s 100 most influential African Americans in 2017. Click here to learn more.
Available on both Rift and Gear VR, 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. To learn more, click here.
The Daily 360
Both in VR and online, The Daily 360 provides immersive content from New York Times journalists on a regular basis covering a vast array of topics, from the lasting effects of genocide to space exploration and beyond. Similarly, its offerings on Black history run the gamut from historic trauma to inspiring artistry and community uplift.
The People’s House: Inside the White House with Barack and Michelle Obama
Available on both Rift and Gear VR, 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. Click here to learn more.
What are some of your favorite pieces of VR content that celebrate Black history and culture? Let us know in the comments.
— The Oculus Team