Fortnite is nothing short of a cultural phenomenon, and in recent months its impact has on that culture has gone far beyond just gaming. As the title evolves and grows it has turned from a genre-defining battle royale game into something much more, hosting movie trailers for massive movies such as the latest Star Wars and the unreleased Tenet.
The game has also hosted a series of digital concert events, but its July 4 event is about something much more somber and important: the evolving conversation about race and racism in America. On Friday, Epic announced that Fortnite would host We The People, a conversation about race featuring notable BIPOC voices in various media.
Join us at the Big Screen this Saturday, July 4 at 9:46 AM ET / 8:46 AM CT for a special presentation.
— Fortnite (@FortniteGame) July 3, 2020
“Something has started to change in America,” host Van Jones said in the video previewing the event. We The People will also feature writer/podcaster Jemele Hill, rapper Killer Mike, Lil Baby, and former Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth. The event will air at the Island’s Big Screen, where other events such as movie trailers have dropped in the game’s Party Royale mode. Epic says that the event will air right at 8:46 a.m. central time — a somber reminder of the nearly nine minutes a police officer had his knee on George Floyd’s neck in Minneapolis. That event and Floyd’s death in police custody sparked a worldwide protest movement and calls to defund the police.
Fortnite my seem an unconventional location to host a sobering and important conversation, but it speaks to the game’s widespread popularity as well as the significant impact recent protests have had on the national conversation.