Dota 2, AfroReggae, repulsion and expansion: Ricardo Chantilly tells how AfroGames and the first esports training center in a favela came about.
Inaugurated last Tuesday (7), in Vigário Geral, AfroGames is the first games and esports training center based in a favela. The project was conceived by the AfroReggae group and its main objective is to train professionals to work not only with League of Legends, but also with programming and music production in games. Closing the package, students will also have English classes, all free of charge. The project has a state-of-the-art structure and is located at the Wally Salomão Cultural Center.
Entrepreneur in the world of music and one of the main names involved in AfroGames, Ricardo Chantilly gave an exclusive interview to GameHall, where he revealed details about his arrival in electronic sports, the expansion plans of AfroGames to other favelas around the country, the difficulties that he dealt with during the development phase of the project and the possibility of forming a team with the “base offspring”.
How did you get to know electronic sports and how did you come up with the idea of creating a project to bring sports closer to the underprivileged?
Ricardo Chantilly: It all started when Bruna Alvarenga came to work with us here at the office (from Kappamakki) and introduced us to the universe of games. At the time, she showed the Dota team, from SG, which had qualified to play in a Major championship, in Kiev. I’ve been in the music business for many years and here at the office we’ve worked with countless Brazilian artists (O Rappa, Jota Quest, Los Hermanos, Tribalistas, Gabi Amarantos, among others). When she presented this universe, we understood that games are part of entertainment and youth culture, and that we needed to update ourselves and explore this market. However, we didn’t want to do what everyone does, which is to create a championship or set up an organization, we understood that this would not be the way and with that we would need to research more.
Shortly thereafter, Simon, my partner, and I traveled to Seattle, as guests of Valve, and saw The International. It was then that the following question came to mind: “How do you form a player? There is no school, right? How do you “screen” these guys? For you to see how life’s coincidences are, when I returned from my trip, I received a call from José Junior, with a proposal that I take over the musical part of AfroReggae and be responsible for the studios and everything else. It was then that I said to him: “Junior, what a song the “caçamba”, let’s go to the games now”. I made a presentation for him, showed championships, numbers, the entire market, and when it was over, he looked at me and questioned: “Chantilly, I didn’t see a black man playing in all those videos there, not even in the audience properly”. I consented, maybe there were one or two, but it was a tiny number, and then, based on that discussion, the idea of AfroGames came up.
Your project was well embraced by the community and a question arose among those most engaged: do you intend to expand AfroGames to other parts of the country?
Yes, we intend to expand the project, and we have already opened a conversation with a group from São Paulo. Initially, the first training center would be in SP, it was more advanced, but we preferred to take a little longer and inaugurate first at the headquarters of AfroReggae, in Vigário Geral. We intend to take the project to several favelas in other states.
What is the biggest difficulty in developing an initiative the size of AfroGames?
The biggest difficulty was the non-understanding of the sponsors and the community as a whole, who did not understand the size of what we wanted to do. I went to BGS last year and talked to representatives of several companies, but nobody supported me, I was even mistreated by some (laughs), everyone kind of disdained the project. Only HyperX was a partner, came and supported. They are providing very strong support, not only with the equipment, but with guidance, they really threw themselves into the project. The biggest difficulty was that it was unprecedented, but I believe that this no longer exists today and everyone has an idea of the size of our project.
Is there a possibility that in the future you will play on the scene with a professional team formed from the base itself?
Yes (there is a possibility). This is one of the three objectives that we put on the agenda when we set up the project. The first was to deliver a digital inclusion center, which is what we opened last Tuesday. The second step is to assemble a professional team at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year, with five or more players, who knows. The third step is to establish AfroGames as a great “granary” of players for Brazil and the world, we want AfroGames to have the first team formed inside a favela in the world.
This whole initiative is very cool and we are all very happy because we have created a game and esports project that is unprecedented in the world, there is nothing like it. It may be that there are small rooms, but a training center at the level of ours, with all the care and quality, is the first in the world, and inside a real favela, it’s not the ones that appear in the “soap opera at eight” no ( laughs), it is there with all the problems and difficulties that all favelas have. As I mentioned at the beginning, our goal is to reach the most varied favelas and give more and more opportunities to young people, who may become, or already are, great players, but would not have opportunities because they do not have access to this level of equipment. . Soon, God willing, the “AfroGames time” will be breaking through Brazil and the world.