New “Natural” Emojis Causing Stir in Technology

Black [natural] Hair is so much more than what it is titled. From 3A to 4C, the wide array of textures all represents a culture that adds on to identity and history. It also happens to be revolutionary. Especially when it is politicized during moments of self-acceptance and refusal of Anglo-Saxon beauty standards implemented through society. Black Hair breaks barriers and reinforces the beauty and essence of women of color. So, when it comes to Apple and Unicode joining the bandwagon of celebrating Black natural hair with the new emojis; is it a win or an insult?

(Photo Credit: Emojipedia)

New emojis, new problems.

Unicode recently announced the possible choices for new emojis to grace all platforms. Amongst the many possibilities, an afro for natural hair was one of the most noticed. The vintage afro that resembles your grandma’s prized ‘Chia Pet’ or a bad hair day for the late Rick James is not what many would consider a “crown of glory”.  Since the initial unveiling, many people have sounded off on social media to express their disdain or praise for this moment in technology.

Let’s not even ignore the ashy complexions that come with the natural hair emojis.

(Photo Credit: Emojipedia)

But there’s still hope. There’s a chance that the infamous ‘bad hair day’ afro emoji could be changed for the better. According to Unicode’s President, Mark Davis; “Final decisions about the 2018 emoji list will happen at the Unicode Technical Meeting in January. With details for publishing by the end of Q1 2018”. Which means users will have access to the newest emojis by the second-half of 2018. As well as new and improved versions of the initial beta versions of the 2018 emojis.


In 2015, Dove created campaign #LoveYourCurls that had emoijs with multiple curl patterns in different lengths totaling 27 unique styles.

(Photo Credit: Dove)

It’s clear that there needs to be more diversity in technology, as well as the Apple and Unicode creative staff. The importance of having variety and unique variations of people-like emojis is to provide a relatable way for users to express themselves through communication. And how can it be possible to create an applicable way to represent someone’s identity, if that very group isn’t being represented in the employment of these companies and projects? Although it is a step in the right direction, it is not a large enough leap of progress to where we should be.

How are you feeling about the potential emojis to represent natural hair? Is this a win in technology, or is it an insult?

Emani Sewell

KontrolTV Beauty Content Coordinator / Current Events Writer

A GA native who is considered a "Jackie of all trades". With broad experience in: Multimedia Journalism, Production, Live Events, Marketing, and Community Service/Outreach, there is simply nothing she cannot do. She has managed to work with brands like: iHeartMedia, AMB Sports + Entertainment, Fox, and A3C Music Festival & Conference. Emani serves as a freelance audio animator and now a curator. Be on the look out for her latest updates by following Emani on social media at @EmaniSunday