Dove, a leading beauty and skincare brand, has made history by collaborating with the Open Source Afro Hair Library to develop the world’s first guide for coding natural hair and protective styles in video games.
The free guide, titled “Code My Crown,” offers developers step-by-step instructions and 360-degree photo mapping to enhance the inclusion and representation of diverse Black hairstyles in the virtual gaming realm.
A.M. Darke, Lead Code My Crown Contributor and founder of the Open Source Afro Hair Library, said the absence or poor representation of Black hair in video games sends a message that Black players and their culture are an afterthought, devaluing their stories, the Daily Mail reported.
“How else can we explain the ubiquity of matted cornrows, bald patches instead of parts, giant disco ‘fros, and the messy, unstyled locs? Why is a common fade or twist out rarely an option?” asked Darke.
The newly launched online guide, “Code My Crown,” seeks to address this gap by providing developers with tools to depict a wider range of authentic and well-rendered Black hairstyles in the video game space.
Edelman DXI’s data, assessed by Dove, indicates that 85% of Black gamers in the U.S. and U.K. believe video games inaccurately and inadequately depict textured hair. Dove addressed this issue in a compelling YouTube video featuring Black gamers expressing how gaming can feel exclusionary due to the lack of accurate representation.
Atari Woolley, a gaming enthusiast, emphasized the desire to spend time playing with a character that resembles oneself.
In several popular video games, only seven percent of the hairstyles currently depict textured or protective styles. However, there is a strong desire for change, with 91 percent of Black gamers expressing eagerness to see accurate representations of themselves in video games.
Dove is actively contributing to this transformation by partnering with the Open Source Afro Hair Library to develop “Code My Crown.” The initiative involves collaboration with a team of Black 3D artists, animators, academics, and programmers to enhance the diversity and authenticity of Black hairstyles in the gaming world.
Dove discovered that 74 percent of gaming developers expressed interest in learning to code textured hair and promoting improved representation of such hairstyles in video games.
A diverse group of experts from around the world and across the Black diaspora collaborated to develop 15 original hair sculpts for the online guide, “Code My Crown.” Their focus was on identifying the top textured and protective hairstyles that were either missing or misrepresented in current video games.
The collaborative effort of gaming developers and experts aims to establish the groundwork for numerous virtual hair possibilities, as stated by Dove. In a released statement, the brand emphasized the significance of representation not only in the real world but also in the virtual realm, underlining the importance of accurate and diverse portrayals in both spaces.