Online Inclusivity and Safety Advisor

Kishonna Gray


Q: Who are you? Where are you from?

A: OOOH. I love this. Who am I. A mother. Partner. Gamer. Aspiring Witch. LOL. A lover of peace and hope. And I try to spread joy in the spaces I occupy. Oh, I’m also a professor at the university of kentucky!

I am actually from Kentucky! A small town called Earlington! It might not show up on google maps! lol

Q: What’s your background?

A: I have no idea how to answer this. I’m a black girl from a small rural area in western kentucky. With a lot of luck, I managed to get a PhD, I landed a visiting gig at MIT, I met Anita Sarkeesian and she likes me! I have two super cool kids that are amazing humans. I have a beautiful partner who is my ride or die in this world. My favorite place to live ever is phoenix arizona. I love the desert landscape (and no bugs! – well scorpions but my cats kill them!)

I love gaming and found a way to turn my passion into a career. People actually care about my opinion which is weird sometimes. I wrote my books to get promoted and other people picked it up and read it! Wild!

I started gaming b/c there was nothing else to do in Earlington (walk through the cemetery maybe!)

Q: Why are you joining Modulate?

A: I’m joining because Mike is persistent! LOL. No seriously, I believe in what you all are doing. I spend time talking and researching topics that Modulate has the capacity to do something about. Which is super awesome. I get to hang at the cool kids table and they actually care about my opinion and perspective in their quest to create better tech for all users. I am honored to be a part of the team!

Q: What’s your favorite online community, and why?

A: OMG!!! I know I am going to forget some awesome community. But I’ll have to say it’s a tie between Black Girl Gamers and Brown Girl Gamer Code. These are spaces I wish I had growing up as a gamer. It was so isolating. But these spaces have created beautiful and flourishing communities to uplift Black women and other Women and femmes of Color.

Q: Tell us about something you must have in any culture you join?

A: Humor! Folks have to be able to laugh. The world is too serious to be stuffy all the time. I think that’s why I’d never make it in the corporate world (hell I am barely making it in academia). But folks think when you are light hearted and joyous that you aren’t serious. I’ve heard that a lot in my academic career. I guess some folks think you have to be hardened and tough and rough around the edges and that’s just not me. I will never let anybody or any institution take my joy.

Q: Who are you outside of work?

A: LMFAO! Yall gon’ learn! I’m the exact same everywhere I go. I refuse to modulate (no pun intended lol) or codeswitch or modify who I am in any space. So if you meet me in one space, I am the exact same in other spaces. This embarrases some people who are more on the professional side. But I am who I am. Loud. Boisterous. Curious. Engaged. A wonderer. And I hope others join me in this journey or get outta the way!

Q: What’s something you’re great at that few people realize?

A: I am actually really good at playing piano. I feel like gaming prepped my fingers for the keys (or the other way around!). I grew up playing piano in church. It’s not something I continued and am actually looking for ways to get back into that. Oh, I’m a pretty good cook too. I never say anything about it b/c people will take you up on that and ask for food all the time. lol

Q: Leave us with a fun tidbit - a favorite joke, a story from your past, an obscure riddle, whatever you like!

A: I’ll leave you with my personal mantra: There are two people in the world. Builders and destroyers. Which one are you?