Code My Crown: Dove makes textured Black hair a reality for gamers in a virtual world

Code My Crown: Dove makes textured Black hair a reality for gamers in a virtual world

In-keeping with its mission to challenge stereotypes, Dove’s latest campaign attempts to increase digital representation by launching an ‘open source Black hairstyle library’.

Dove's Code My Crown project is a free online resource that aims to be inclusive to Black gamers by bringing more realistic hairstyles to the space, following criticisms that existing afro hair options were “limited” and “highly stereotypical”.

The Dove Foundation, alongside a global team of Black artists, has launched 15 base hairstyles that allow for “hundreds of virtual hair possibilities”.

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

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

The campaign is the latest in a series of digitally-focused Dove offerings.

In May, the Unilever brand targeted parents with babies who lack free time to interact in a virtual space for “moms who use its Baby Dove products” called #RealMomsVillage.

The brand has previously drawn attention to the ‘alarming rate’ Black girls experience hair discrimination in schools, and recently partnered with Venus Williams and Nike to build girls’ body confidence, as well as pushing for legislation to limit kid's exposure to toxic beauty content.

But while the recent digital offering is in the spirit of decentralisation, personalisation and social interaction, the term ‘metaverse’ doesn’t feature in Dove’s descriptors. Instead, the brand opts for terms including ‘gaming’ and ‘virtual space’.

The term ‘metaverse’, which describes shared interactive digital gaming worlds, saw its popularity surge during an early 2020s boom in VR and cryptocurrencies like Sandbox, prompting Facebook to boldly rebrand to ‘Meta’.

Dove also has a long history of socially-focused campaigns. In 1969, real women’s testimonials were used in Dove ads for the first time. The company has a long-standing commitment against animal testing, and since the mid-1980s, non-animal methods have been used to ensure the safety of Dove products.

Since 2019, Dove has moved to 100% recycled plastic bottles in North America and Europe as part of its commitment to 100% reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic packaging across its portfolio by 2025. This year, meanwhile, Dove launched a #FreeThePits campaign in Big Apple subways “to encourage women everywhere to reject underarm stereotypes” in time for New York Fashion Week.

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