Created by Black artists, Code my Crown is an instructional guide for coders and developers to code more diverse, true-to-life, depictions of Black hairstyles in 3D to ensure more representation in the virtual world of gaming—and its free to download.
Promoting Better Representation of Textured Hair in Videogames
Millions of Black gamers play for fun, a sense of community, and self-expression – yet, for all the technological advances in the gaming industry, the depiction of textured hair and protective styles continues to be limited, often highly stereotypical, and not representative of the breadth and beauty of its real-world counterpart. 85% of Black gamers believe video games poorly represent textured hair.
“In the real world, there is an incredible variety of Black hairstyles. But this is rarely reflected in the gaming world. When Black hair is absent from the games we play or are consistently low-quality, it communicates that Black players and our culture are an afterthought, that our stories aren’t worth telling,” explains A.M. Darke, Lead Code my Crown Contributor & Founder of the Open Source Afro Hair Library.
Dove Takes Action
In response to learning that 74% of developers want to play a role in promoting better representation of textured hair in video games and learn how to code textured hair, Dove (a Unilever brand) is taking action toward a solution.
In partnership with natural hair experts, Dove and Open Source Afro Hair Library identified the top textured and protective hairstyles currently missing or misrepresented in video games.
Together, Dove and Open Source Afro Hair Library enlisted a team of Black 3D artists, animators, programmers, and academics – from around the world and across the Black diaspora – to develop 15 original hair sculpts that can lay the foundation for hundreds of virtual hair possibilities.
Each sculpt comes with step-by-step instructions, 360-degree photo mapping, and cultural insight so that any developer, anywhere, can better model and represent textured hair and styles in the digital world. In the absence of formal reference materials for modeling textured hair and styles, many Code my Crown artists are self-taught and their work is a result of trial, effort, and personal innovation.
“At Dove, we believe every single person should see their beauty represented in the world around them – this is no different for the virtual world. The importance of accurately and respectfully depicting textured hair in video games cannot be overstated, and we are proud to play a small part in taking action to set a new standard for diversity and representation in video games,” explains Leandro Barreto, Senior Vice President, Global Dove Masterbrand.