Hello everyone! To help us round off our celebration for Black History Month, I sat down for an interview with SaRae Henderson (also known as Rae). It’s a little behind, but we wanted to make sure that Rae’s story got the attention it deserved! We’ve done a Who’s Who with Rae in the past where you get to learn a little bit more about her. But Black History Month is nothing without the voices of Black people telling their histories. Let’s get to know Rae a little better to celebrate Black History Month.
Q: How did you end up here at a board game company of all places?
R: I saw the job posting for it and decided to submit my portfolio! Thankfully one of my classes in college let us have the freedom to go in all kinds of directions. I had a board game concept in my portfolio because of that. My focus was on graphic design and animation so I think that’s what really made me part of the team.
Q: Did you always want to do art? How did that get started?
R: Actually when I was in high school I was focused on being a veterinarian, so all of my classes and everything were sciences and biology. Art was always a hobby before that and I tried a little bit of everything from sewing to drawing to pottery. But in my sophomore year I got into graphic design and animation classes. We got to do this one assignment where we made new theme songs, so I combined Spongebob and Phineas and Ferb.
Q: What are your hobbies now that art is your job?
R: Video games for sure. We are a PlayStation and Xbox family. I like anything that I can get lost in. So things like RPGs because of the quests. It does have to have the ability to make my own character and go my own direction. Too much freedom though? I can’t do the on the fly stuff like with TTRPGs.
Q: Who inspires you? Whether that’s through art or your everyday life?
R: Issa Rae. You might know her from the web series Awkward Black Girl. She’s so relatable — I can see myself in her in all of the things that she can do. That includes her success because she’s a producer, a director, just so much more. It’s important for young black children to see us go after that. To see us in being successful and be in positions of power.
Q: What about your family? Do any of them inspire you?
R: Oh yes, my sister. I’m very close to my sister. She still lives in Illinois, so I get to see her a lot more than all the other siblings. She’s very goal driven. She takes risks. She goes after whatever she wants and is not afraid to take a chance. There’s power, strength, dedication, and motivation in her.
Q: What’s something you wished was better focused on for Black History Month in your school career? Did anything stick with you?
R: I didn’t really start learning about Black history until college. In school, other than MLK and Rosa Parks with the Civil Rights Movement, they didn’t really put any emphasis on it. There wasn’t anything on the background, the history, how it started, slavery. It’s good to acknowledge that part so we can see our change.
Q: Did you learn more as you became an adult?
R: Yes, I was able to take a Black history class specifically. I learned about Josephine Baker and that really caught my attention. That opened a door to branch out and see other stuff. The Harlem Renaissance! There’s a few painters that I think of when it comes to my personal art inspiration like Jacob Lawrence, Aaron Douglas. I do grab from them the things they painted because they made paintings about black culture.
Q: Why do you think it’s important to talk about Black history?
R: In general, Black history sets a foundation for a lot of things, both cultural and political. It’s good to acknowledge where it started and how it’s grown since then. We already touched on representation too and how much that matters. It’s so important.
Thank you so much, Rae for lending your voice and celebrating Black History Month! Be sure to check out her Who’s Who article here. And we’ve still got our blog post for Black History Month with creators within the industry. We hope to see you all soon!