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Dove’s ‘Code My Crown’: Transforming Black Representation in Gaming

black hair gamer
Photo Credit: Brand

Have you ever created your avatar for your favorite video game and ended up just not feeling it? If so, you probably made the best out of it, knowing there was no way to truly capture the essence of your fly textured hair or protective style based on the mainstream options. And you’re not alone in that feeling. According to a study cited by Dove, 85% of Black gamers believe video games poorly represent textured hair. Thanks to Dove and Open Source Afro Hair Library, the options for crowning your favorite video game characters are about to get much more diverse. 

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Dove and Open Source Afro Library have created and recently released Code My Crown, a step-by-step guide for building Black hair textures and styles in the virtual world. And the best part is that it is completely FREE and available to anyone who wants to download it at Dove.com/CodemyCrown.

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As a co-founder of the CROWN Coalition, Dove has already worked to create equity in how Black women can show up with their natural hair. They supported the passage of the CROWN Act in several states, legislation introduced in 2019 that protects against race-based hair discrimination in workplaces and K-12 public & charter schools. Now, Dove is expanding that CROWN mission by advocating for real-world impact in the virtual spaces where many women of color engage in play. 

In a press release announcing the initiative, Leandro Barreto, Senior Vice President, Global Dove Masterbrand, says, “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. There is more to be done to ensure Black gamers see themselves in the games they play, but we can’t do it alone. We are calling on gaming developers and industry leaders to join us to help make virtual beauty a reality with Code My Crown.” 

Dove and Open Source Afro Hair Library have released 15 original hair sculpts that developers can turn into hundreds of virtual hair possibilities. They worked with a team of self-taught Black 3D artists, animators, programmers, and academics to develop each sculpt, which comes with step-by-step instructions, 360-degree photo mapping, and cultural insight so that any developer, anywhere, can have the tools to create true-to-life representations of textured hair in digital games. 

As Black women, we don’t play about our hair! We love to have versatility in our self-expression, and how we style our hair, so it’s going to be a treat to bring that expression to our virtual selves in the gaming space. Interested in a little sneak peek? Check out some models and textures on the Afro Hair Library’s database

What do you think about this game-changing initiative? Let us know why this is meaningful to you in the comments. 

Kim Barfield

Kim M. Barfield is a freelance writer and editor with a penchant for beauty, style, home and parenting. She’s written for websites including Madame Noire, For Harriett and Examiner.com; and been featured at PopSugar Select Fashion and Essence.com. Connect with her on social @KimBarfieldStyle.

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