In his early years, Twitcher Blizz (blizzb3ar) saw video gaming as a way to escape mentally from at-home stressors. It was how he coped with not having his queer identity be embraced by close family members. In these games, the now 25-year-old could explore alternative realities, creating a different world in Stardew Valley and fine-tuning his virtual role-playing skills in Kingdom Hearts

In June, the Marylander told Lifewire, “Video games really helped me escape, especially games like Stardew Valley. You can get away from living in the city and marry whoever you wanted.” He goes on to say, “I didn’t play very much in college, and now that I think about it, it was because I wasn’t living under the roof of my parents and I already escaped … So moving back, I got really into playing video games again, and it was kind of the reason I moved on to Twitch.”

As a child, @blizzb3ar saw video games as a way to escape mentally from at-home stressors. At 25, he's grown a strong @Twitch alternative world gaming community. #Stan #ContentEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

Returning to his childhood roots propelled him into the gaming world, his Twitch streaming quickly became not only a passion project but a new source of income. Blizz became a full-timer during the pandemic, creating a safe and accepting community amongst his 19.2K followers, often called Blizzbies.  

The lovable social activist calls his online community “a (wild) ball of comfortability. We’re like an online chosen family. I get messages all the time saying (my community) is like a home away from home for a lot of people. They’re my everything.”

@Blizzb3ar created a @Twitch community that's like an online chosen family. #Blizzbies #Stan #ContentEntrepreneur Click To Tweet

Today, blizzb3ar is part of the Twitch Partner program, occasionally receives donations from fans, and raises money for Black Girls Code and other causes he cares about with SideQuest.

Why we’re a Stan: Blizz turned his own struggles into an uplifting and judgment-free community where members can be their authentic selves.

About the author

Shameyka McCalman is a wordsmith whose work often centers around fashion, art, and other creatives of color. She earned her communications degree from the University of Massachusetts Boston and enjoys sifting through clothes in local vintage shops, frequenting nearby plays, and gazing at exhibitions on view in museums.