Why Streamer Pikachulita Wants to Reform Twitch From the Inside

More than just a seat at the table

Twitch’s womanist revolution is just around the corner, if Pikachulita has anything to say about it.

As Twitch streamer Pikachulita, Katie Robinson electrifies the audience with her style of socially aware wit and an element of gaming finesse and intrigue that permeates her variety streams hoping to give Twitch a shocking makeover.

Katie Robinson / Pikachulita on Twitch, whit the Twitch logo displayed beside her.

Katie Robinson / Twitch

A veteran on the platform, Robinson has seen a sea of progressive changes at Twitch and she’s dedicated to ensuring they continue. Boasting the coveted Twitch Partner status, as well as a partnership with computer hardware brand Logitech, this streamer has turned her passion into a lucrative side hustle. This fearless creator is committed to fostering a better digital environment that centers on marginalized people. 

"My goal at this point is to create my own space. I don’t want a seat at the table. It’s nice to include marginalized communities in the general spaces, but I also want for us to have our own, as well," she said in a phone interview with Lifewire. "I want for there to be the existence of spaces where people can come back to and retreat... where they’re safe, respected, and wanted."

Quick Facts

  • Name: Katie Robinson 
  • Age: 27
  • Located: Memphis, Tennessee
  • Random delight: A new love! Streaming uncovered a deeper love of gaming. "I hate calling it a hobby because it’s so much more than that. It’s a passion," she says. A shared interest in gaming has allowed her to make some of her strongest personal connections.    

Pika, Pika

Robinson describes being raised in a quaint suburb of Kansas City, Missouri, where she and her family were an integral part of the community. Her mother, a PTA president, was a homemaker, and her father a local autobody worker. She was popular, but that all changed after a sudden move to a small town in northern Mississippi. She became an outcast, and video games were her one constant. 

Video game nights were commonplace in the Robinson household, where she and her family would congregate for a party game of their choice. Pokémon was her first gaming love, however. The adorable, animal-inspired Pokémon were a big draw for her and an obvious inspiration for her online persona, which is a play on the video game/anime’s mascot, Pikachu.

During her adolescence, Robinson chose to dedicate her life to "school and boys." She graduated valedictorian and went off to college, where she eventually would find her way back to gaming in early adulthood. It was also around this time she discovered the world of streaming.   

"I was [watching streamer Maximillian_Dood] like, 'Wow, this is really cool. I like to think I’m pretty entertaining and I’m pretty good at video games, so why not try it...' so I started streaming," she recalled. 

But what she remembers most is the utter absence of Black and queer women in any kind of position of power or influence in the gaming sphere. It's a problem she’s trying to resolve by supporting communities for marginalized people to congregate and collaborate like the 175-member Twitch Team, Black Girl Gamers

Katie Robinson / Pikachulita on Twitch during a livestream.

Katie Robinson

"The existence of these communities matters, because the amount of Black women who have been afraid to break into gaming spaces or content creation is wild. I almost compare it to getting in the water with sharks," she said. "One person in the water with 10 sharks versus 30 people in the water with one shark... It’s a safety-in-numbers scenario."

Changing Spaces

The content Robinson creates as a variety streamer ranges from video game streams to just chatting segments with her community, the PikaCrew. A strand of womanism weaves its way through every fabric of the content Robinson produces under her Pikachulita brand. 

Even when she’s playing video games, like the latest Ratchet & Clank title, she’s discussing the complexities of queer and woman identities on a platform built around the male-dominated culture of gaming. She’s taking on Twitch and challenging the streaming giant to do more than what she deems "performative" maneuvers. 

"I’m not going to be silenced and I’m not here to make people comfortable. Everything that needs to change about society and systems inside of gaming and outside of gaming is not comfortable," Robinson detailed describing her intention on the platform.

But this Pika is not all spark. She puts her money where her mouth is with her charity streams, where she’s raised thousands of dollars for nonprofit organizations like St. Jude Play Live and Trans Lifeline. She's even held fundraisers for community members hoping to cover medical bills and other auxiliary costs.

"The existence of these communities matters, because the amount of Black women who have been afraid to break into gaming spaces or content creation is wild."

Robinson wants the world to realize that marginalized identities in gaming deserve the same kind of support as their white counterparts. Their content is just as engaging and creative, but they get a fraction of the audience’s support and corporate attention.

That’s changing, and she’s hoping to lead the pack for those coming up behind her. "Never feel like you have to be any less Black, any less queer, any less of a feminist...if you have to do that to be successful, then that success won’t be worth it," she said. "We exist on these platforms happily and proudly and we’re not going anywhere. This is just the beginning. We’re just getting started."

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