‘People all over the world want to have emoji that reflect more human diversity’: Black characters may be included in latest update
Activists have long criticized the beloved picture language for its lack of diversity: currently only white emojis exist. The update is only a draft, and there is no timetable for when it could become a reality.
By Meg Wagner | NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Emoji might finally get some diversity.
Unicode Consortium, an industry standard that regulates the beloved picture characters, is considering adding a skin tone modifier to its system, which means black emoji could soon be a reality.
Activists have long criticized the Unicode standard — and by proxy Apple, Android and all the other platforms that support emoji — for a lack of diversity. Currently only white characters exist.
But the proposed update would allow five skin tones. Each character — haircut girl, praying hands, dancer in a red dress and all your other favorites ― would come in its original pale hue and four darker shades.
“People all over the world want to have emoji that reflect more human diversity, especially for skin tone,” Unicode Consortium wrote in a draft of its update.
The update is only a draft, and there is no timetable for when it could become a reality.
Emoji lovers have demanded an ethnicity update for years.
In 2012, Miley Cyrus tweeted that she wanted more diversity in her picture characters. Earlier this year, Tahj Mowry also vented about emoji’s diversity problem.
After receiving considerable backlash for its lack of diverse emojis, Apple said it alone couldn’t update the standard.
In March, Katie Cotton, vice president of worldwide corporate communications for Apple, told MTV it was working with Unicode ― the source of emoji ― to make better, more divers characters.
“Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms. There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard,” she said in a statement.
In May, an Africa-based app company, Oju Africa, launched a set of black emoticons for Android in the Google Play store, CNN reported.