Doritos recognizes local gamer as ‘Changemaker’
By Mikayla Higgins, Daily Memphian
Updated: August 02, 2022 4:00 AM CT | Published: August 02, 2022 4:00 AM CT
“Having something you stand for impact people’s lives should hold more weight.”
So says Katie Robinson, a local gamer who goes by the name “PikaChulita” and was instrumental in a recent donation to Memphis’ CodeCrew.
Robinson is known for her charity work and for being outspoken about her experiences as a queer Black woman. She’s a partner on Twitch, the interactive live streaming service often used by gamers. But the donation to CodeCrew came as part of her being named a 2022 Doritos Solid Black Changemaker.
Her journey there began around the age of five in Kansas City, Missouri.
“My parents and grandparents fully supported it as a hobby,” Robinson said of gaming. “I would bring home good grades, and they would reward me with whatever video game I wanted.”
While in college, Robinson purchased the PlayStation 4, allowing her to stream directly from her device. When she learned about Twitch, Robinson realized she could do the same.
PikaChulita did her first stream in September 2014 and has been creating content on Twitch part-time for almost eight years. After graduating college in 2017, PikaChulita moved to South Memphis and has been here ever since.
“It was neat to think, ‘Hey, I’m just sitting here playing this game, and people will watch me do it.’ I started streaming to maybe two or three of my friends, and it’s grown since then,” Robinson said.
Currently, she has 15,500 followers on Twitch, more than 1.4 million views, and 22,100 followers on Twitter.
“They find me entertaining enough and fascinating enough to sit and watch me for hours. And sometimes I’m not necessarily playing a game; sometimes I’m just talking,” Robinson said.
Robinson has worked to make gaming a safer space for marginalized individuals, especially those who are Black, brown, or members of the LGBTQ community.
“The face of gaming itself is cis white male-dominated. We’re still trying to unpack it and change that. And that’s where I come into play,” Robinson said.
Doritos’ Solid Black initiative recognizes changemakers in their communities and donates to a nonprofit of their choice. Doritos committed $200,000 to support this year’s four changemakers, with an additional $125,000 to the nonprofits.
“I had no existing relationship with CodeCrew before this; I essentially wanted to pick an organization that was a local Memphis organization because Memphis has so much talent and potential,” Robinson said.
The purpose of CodeCrew is to educate underrepresented communities, including people of color and girls and women of all races, in computer science. The organization conducts programming such as in-school elective courses, summer camps, and its annual Hackathon, where students are tasked with building an app around a specific topic.
CodeCrew has used funding from Doritos for after-school and summer programs as well as stipends for their adult students.
“To put us in this spotlight on a national scale like this meant the world,” said Kela Jones, deputy executive director of CodeCrew.
Robinson has also volunteered to host game nights with CodeCrew and to continue her relationship with them in anyway she can.
Logitech G sponsors PikaChulita, and the company has offered to supply prizes for CodeCrew’s Hackathon.
“She is going above and beyond the Doritos Solid Black funding and providing herself and her time. So this connection has been truly a blessing for us,” Jones said. “We’re so thankful to have her part of the family now.”
As part of the initiative, the Doritos changemakers also filmed a commercial for the BET Awards.
“I felt like (Doritos) wanted us. And people just loved what we did and were so enamored with us. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a girl from Memphis.”
2022 Doritos Solid Black Changemaker
“I felt like (Doritos) wanted us. And people just loved what we did and were so enamored with us. It was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a girl from Memphis,” Robinson said.
As she follows her passion, she also wants to continue making an impact:
“Regardless of my bad days, I feel like it’s why I was put here. I always say that if I were to die tomorrow and know that I ultimately made an impact in people’s lives, that’s all I could ask for,” Robinson said.
Check out the Daily Memphian article here