- Dove and Open Source Afro Hair Library have joined forces for the new creation
- It is the first online guide in the world for gamers to code textured hair and styles
- The guide features step-by-step instructions and 360-degree photo mapping
Bestselling beauty and skincare brand Dove is making history by creating the first-ever guide in the world for coding natural hair and protective styles in video games.
Dove has joined forces with Open Source Afro Hair Library to create the free guide, Code My Crown, which supplies step-by-step instructions and 360-degree photo mapping in order for developers to promote greater inclusion and representation in the virtual gaming world.
‘In the real world, there is an incredible variety of Black hairstyles. But this is rarely reflected in the gaming world,’ said A.M. Darke, Lead Code my Crown Contributor & Founder of the Open Source Afro Hair Library, in a statement.
‘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.’
‘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?’
As a result, this new online guide aims to create diversity and accurate renderings of natural hair in the video game space.
According to data conducted by Edelman DXI in both the U.S. and U.K. in March and April 2023 and reviewed by Dove, 85 per cent of Black gamers feel that video games are inaccurate and ‘poorly represent textured hair.’
In a moving video posted to Dove’s YouTube channel, the company heard from different Black gamers who explained that sometimes, playing video games can feel ‘exclusionary.’
‘Naturally, you want to spend your time playing with a character that looks like you,’ explained gaming enthusiast Atari Woolley in the YouTube clip.
Currently, in some of the most popular video games, only seven per cent of the hairstyles represent or depict textured or protective hairstyles.
But many are interested in a change — 91 per cent of Black gamers are ‘eager’ to see themselves accurately depicted in video games, something that Dove is playing a major role in.
To create Code My Crown, both Dove and Open Source Afro Hair Library worked with a team of Black 3D artists, animators, academics and programmers.
Dove learned that 74 per cent of gaming developers wanted to have a role in learning how to code textured hair, as well as ‘promoting better representation of textured hair in video games’
These experts, who came from all around the world and ‘across the Black diaspora,’ worked together to create 15 original hair sculpts for the online guide.
The team identified the top textured and protective hairstyles that were currently ‘missing’ or ‘misrepresented’ in video games.
They explained that this will start to ‘lay the foundation for hundreds of virtual hair possibilities.’
In a statement from Dove, the brand explained it’s not only important for people to see themselves represented in the real world, but in the virtual world as well.
‘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, said Leandro Barreto, Senior Vice President of Global Dove Masterbrand.
‘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.
Barreto continued, ‘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 believes in not only accurate representation of natural and protective hair, but also celebrating it.
In 2019, the company co-founded the CROWN (Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair) Coalition.
CROWN helps to ‘advocate for an end to race-based hair discrimination and create a more equitable and inclusive beauty experience for Black women and girls.’