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beauty is pop culture // sex rules the world 

  • Chelsea Mtada

Dove's "Code My Crown" Initiative is Redefining Black Hair Representation in Gaming.

How Dove's Gaming Initiative Is Shaping the Future of Beauty Inclusivity in Digital Spaces.

Photo Credit: Dove/Code My Crown
Photo Credit: Dove/Code My Crown

In the dynamic world of video games, where the bounds of reality are constantly redefined, one aspect remained noticeably unchanged for far too long – the representation of Black hair textures and styles. This oversight in the gaming industry, reflective of a broader cultural blind spot, is what Dove, a brand known for its beauty products and inclusivity campaigns, aimed to address with its groundbreaking initiative, "Code My Crown."

The story of "Code My Crown" unfolds against the backdrop of a critical finding by Dove: a stark lack of representation for Black gamers in avatar customisation options. This gap prompts a pioneering partnership with the Open Source Afro Hair Library, a platform offering 3D models of Black hair textures and styles. Dove, a brand synonymous with beauty and inclusivity, stepped into the gaming arena, forging a unique intersection between beauty and digital entertainment.

At the heart of this initiative is A M Darke, founder of the Open Source Afro Hair Library. Darke brings to light the cultural implications of the underrepresentation of Black hairstyles in gaming. Dove's research supports this, revealing that 85% of Black gamers think video games poorly represent natural hair. This revelation is a call for change, resonating throughout the gaming and beauty communities.

Photo Credit: Dove/Code My Crown
Photo Credit: Dove/Code My Crown

Dove's initiative resonates with those beyond the gaming community, tapping into the burgeoning intersection of fashion, beauty, and virtual reality. As brands like Idoru began exploring avatar customisation with diverse skin conditions and pigments, Dove's project contributes a vital piece to this evolving puzzle – authentic Black hair representation. This movement isn’t just about gaming; it’s about reshaping perceptions and breaking stereotypes in digital spaces, a testament to the evolving role of beauty brands in contemporary culture.

"Code My Crown" is a vibrant thread in the fabric of Dove’s ongoing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) initiatives. Beyond the digital realm, Dove supports legislative measures like the Crown Act to combat race-based hair discrimination. Collaborating with hair experts and Black artists, Dove is setting a new standard for inclusivity in both physical and virtual environments.

Photo Credit: Open Source Library
Photo Credit: Open Source Library

The initiative has gained momentum, especially among Gen Z, a generation known for its unwavering demand for representation and inclusivity. By addressing the needs of this generation, Dove isn’t just changing the narrative in gaming; it is setting a new standard for how beauty and personal care brands should engage with digital media and virtual representation.

Today, Dove's "Code My Crown" is more than an initiative; it’s a movement, bringing a new level of authenticity to gaming. This campaign extends beyond the realms of beauty and gaming, symbolising a broader commitment to cultural inclusivity and diversity. It stands as a testament to the power of collaboration and innovation in creating a world where everyone can see their beauty and identity celebrated – both in reality and the virtual world.

Here are the key learnings for brands and marketeers:

Address Representation Gaps - Brands need to recognise and address gaps in representation, especially in digital and virtual spaces. Dove's focus on Black hair textures in gaming avatars highlights how underrepresentation can affect a community's sense of belonging and identity.

The Power of Collaboration - Leveraging expertise from relevant communities and specialists is crucial. Dove's partnership with the Open Source Afro Hair Library and consultation with Black hair experts exemplifies the value of collaborating with those who have authentic insights and experiences.

Cultural Sensitivity is Key - It's important for brands to approach such initiatives with cultural sensitivity. Understanding the historical and cultural significance of aspects like Black hair requires thorough research and respectful representation..

Expanding Brand Influence - Dove's venture into the gaming world demonstrates how brands can extend their influence beyond their primary market. This kind of cross-category approach can open up new opportunities for engagement and impact.

Setting Industry Standards - Brands have the power to set new standards in their industries. By pioneering in areas like digital representation, brands like Dove can encourage others to follow suit, leading to broader industry changes.

Are you passionate about exploring the intricate worlds of beauty, sex, wellness and culture ? Do you belong to a marginalised community and have unique perspectives and stories to share? If so, Nightstand Service is eagerly seeking contributing writers like you! Get in touch:


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