For Adrian Durell Jackson, online gaming is more than a leisurely activity, it is his life. Playing online games helped him get through the most difficult times of his adolescent years.
Growing up in the Imperial Court Projects, a neighborhood where gang violence and drugs on the streets are common, Jackson could not have favorable childhood memories. He was always surrounded by people who would try to engage him in drugs and street violence.
The neighborhood would set most people up for failure, but Jackson was able to look past the limitations and find a hobby that would help him stay occupied and stay out of trouble. And that hobby was playing online games.
“I had friends who would tell me to go out with them, and I would want to but I would stay and play Halo, stay and play this or that,” Jackson said. “Whenever they would ask me to go I would stay and play video games and that saved my life because something bad would always happen. I lost a friend who was killed.”
He eventually got a job as a bank officer at Bank of America in Upland, CA. During this after-work hours, he continued spending time on playing games. Then one day, he decided to build something out of what he loves to do and spread a positive message across his community.
He founded GhettoNerds, a gaming foundation whose goal is to spread positivity to anyone who has grown up or is growing up in a rough neighborhood, with his two cousins, who also grew up in the Imperial Court Projects.
The foundation started on a live streaming service called Twitch. From here, Jackson was able to gain fans or “supporters,” whom he calls family.
Jackson’s biggest supporter and motivator to stay positive and launch GhettoNerds was his mother.
“My mother is the reason why when I became a streamer,” Jackson said. She was my first subscriber. She paid the most amount to subscribe to his account. My momma did not know anything about games, but she knew I had a love for gaming and wanted to do something with it.”
His mother has always given him unconditional support, which is what fueled his energy. He never has given up even when his mother passed.
“You started something, finish it, don’t let me stop you,” Jackson reflected. “Before [my mother] passed she told me this. She didn’t want me to fold, she didn’t want me to give up and to this day she still supports me. I know it.”
GhettoNerds, currently streaming on Mixer, has three rules: the streamer must have an average of 2000 followers, available to stream three to four days a week, and must have a minimum of 24 hours of streaming within 30 days.
Mixer is a streaming site created by Microsoft that specializes in video game streaming.
GhettoNerds has recently been approved to partner with Mixer.
“[Mixer] wants to see how professional you are,” Jackson explained. “They look for quality. It’s about how you talk. You can’t cuss, you have to talk professionally. That’s been me since I started streaming on Mixer.”
Jackson would aim to be the best, interacting with his supporters, and spreading positivity to those who watched his streams.
One of his supporters, “slimmshady,” reached out to Jackson and shared that his mother had passed away and didn’t have anyone to go to. Jackson gave “slimmshady” his phone number and helped his supporter.
“It’s these supporters in which we strive for,” Jackson said. “He asked me to just keep streaming and doing what I’m doing. He said I made his night, and I hope I did.”
Jacksons says he currently has increasing supporters from his streams and does not intend to slow down.
“They have gaming events, you can get sponsorships. They make sure you branch out. Microsoft opens so many doors for you it’s ridiculous. A partnership is like you’re a big dog.”