MYNNO Halo Infinite Invitational features diversity in gaming
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Original Reporting
On the Ground

On Dec. 12, Toronto-based organization MYNNO celebrated BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and people of color) creators and their friends within the Toronto gaming and esports community with a Halo Infinite Invitational event at the Red Bull Gaming Studio. MYNNO worked with Xbox Canada and Paidia Gaming to make this happen.

All about MYNNO

Formerly known as Team Black Game Pros, MYNNO is an organization with the mission of supporting BIPOC creators. “The rebrand comes as a way to better reflect their values with ‘MYNNO’ being short for ‘Minority’ and the team itself being minority operated,” according to a previous announcement.

Kvondoom noted that events like the Halo Infinite Invitational put a spotlight on talented creators, giving them a platform to speak out and share their work.

Kurston "kvondoom" Timothy at the Halo Infinite Invitational
MYNNO Founder Kurston “kvondoom” Timothy at the Halo Infinite Invitational. | Provided by Amy Chen

Throughout the day, the Red Bull Gaming Studio was packed with competitors and their supporters. While one corner featured a gaming area with couches, the center stage showcased MYNNO’s Omar “Meez” Williams and Nathanael “BeatDownBlvd” Birhane casting the event.

Complimentary Red Bull energy drinks were provided by the bar at the back of the room.

Players practicing in the gaming area
Players practicing in the gaming area. | Provided by Amy Chen

Celebrating Filipino heritage

Beside the bar was a booth featuring MYNNO’s Halo Infinite Invitational merch and a meaningful T-shirt design by Nuflo Creative. Vincent Ticsay managed the booth and told Upcomer about his design.

“There’s some words on it that says some advice, ‘Sumabay sa takbo ng tugtugan,’ which means ‘go with the flow of the music,’” Ticsay said.

Ticsay explained that the words also referenced his personal heritage as a Filipino-Canadian and the important role of music in his life. “It’s a way for me to connect with my parents and a way to connect my generation with the previous generation,” he explained.

Vincent Ticsay and his t-shirt designs at the Halo Infinite Invitational
Vincent Ticsay and his T-shirt designs at the Halo Infinite Invitational. | Provided by Amy Chen

The Red Bull Gaming Studio had another room where competitors duked it out against each other. Player Marcus Brown prepared for the Halo Infinite Invitational tournament with the support of his plus one, Kathryn Vejesus.

“Honestly, it means everything,” Brown said about the event. “You don’t really see that much of a presence of people that are minorities in the gaming scene. But when you see people that actually help bring in the whole minority part, especially in the gaming scene in Toronto, it’s cool. Especially with a game like Halo.”

Vejesus agreed, noting Toronto’s growth in the gaming and esports scene. She said it’s amazing to see its growth compared to places in the United States and Europe.

“And then, with the help of putting the minority cultures in there, it’s just the best of both worlds,” Vejesus said, referring to MYNNO’s mission. “Because you get to see gaming culture grow up in Toronto, you get to see people of color growing up and just stand out there and say, ‘Hey, this is our voice. This is who we are. We’re not backing down and we’ll keep going forward.’”

Marcus Brown and Kathryn Vejesus in the TD Player Lounge within the Red Bull Gaming Studio
Marcus Brown and Kathryn Vejesus in the TD Player Lounge within the Red Bull Gaming Studio. | Provided by Amy Chen

Amy Chen is an esports journalist and enthusiast who specializes in in-depth interviews and breaking news. A University of Toronto and Humber College graduate, she is passionate about building up the Canadian esports industry. Her current favorite games are Hearthstone and Heroes of the Storm, and she has always had a soft spot for World of Warcraft!