By Robert Stitt
It wasn’t too long ago that emojis were missing something: ethnic color and flair. That’s not to say that the yellow circle faces represented non-ethnic cultures; either, but it was apparent they were not Black. Then, Apple came out with Black emojis. Not long after, Dove Hair made a line of curly-haired emojis available “for ladies who are Black, brown, white, and in between” as part of Dove Hair’s Love Your Curls campaign.
Today, there’s more. According to Bossip, “iManagement Consulting launched Afro Emoji on Google Play and iOS”. These “Afro Emojis” are described by their creators as “modern African hieroglyphs”. The emojis are customized, can be used with any of your favorite social media apps, and are specifically designed for Africans.
The thought behind the unique emojis was that these symbolic creations have become so much a part of the modern culture that they ought to represent inclusion and diversity as well. By adding variations of skin tones and hair, you can more accurately represent yourself. Many of the Afro Emojis do not just come with new characters, but with captions. CNN notes that the captions put a true African twist on things with statements like “Abeg no vex” (Please, don’t be annoyed), “E make brain” (It makes sense) and “My Oga at the top” (My boss at the top).
The original variations are mostly representative of West Africa. If well received, other parts of the continent will follow. Said one of the creators, “For a continent of almost 1 billion, we are woefully represented and this really grated with me, so I decided to do something about it…There are so many cultural nuances and mannerisms from across the continent, what we’re looking to do with Afro Emojis are portray them in pictorial form and package them in a way that millions can use and share.”
The first 50 emojis are free from Google Play and the App Store, but upgrades will cost you $1.99 for over 300 stickers.