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Dove brings more representation for Black gamers with open-source hair library

The project makes potentially hundreds of realistic Black hairstyles available to gamers

By Dale Fox

Close up of a video game character's head next to a menu of other video characters in a grid on the left side
Dove's Code My Crown project aims to bring more realistic hairstyles to gaming (Image: Dove)

Beauty brand Dove is hoping that Black gamers will see see themselves better represented in the gaming world, with the launch of a free resource for the coding of Black hair.

The brand’s Code My Crown project was created alongside Black artists, and consists of a free guide for the coding of realistic Black hairstyles. The guide is completely free and available for anyone to access.

“In the real world, there is an incredible variety of Black hairstyles. But this is rarely reflected in the gaming world,” project contributor A.M. Darke, founder of the Open Source Afro Hair Library, said.

85% of Black gamers “believe video games poorly represent textured hair”

“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?” she added.

According to research shared by Dove, 85% of Black gamers “believe video games poorly represent textured hair.” It added that 74% of developers “want to play a role in promoting better representation of textured hair.”

The foundation, alongside a global team of Black artists, created 15 base hairstyles ” that can lay the foundation for hundreds of virtual hair possibilities”. It’s hoped they’ll be used

“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,” explained Leandro Barreto, senior vice president for the Dove brand.

Dove’s Code My Crown is available to download by clicking here.