The virtual collection of Emoji icons on mobile devices might receive a revolutionary update that will finally include ethnically diverse characters.
For at least a year now, Black Twitter has had an interesting question for the creators of the emoji icons: Where are the Black people?
The variety of faces used to express certain emotions and depict common items has long excluded Black characters.
An Asian man, an Indian man and even gay couples fill the emoji repertoire on Apple and Android devices, but if Black users ever wanted a face that looked a little more like themselves they were out of luck.
That’s finally about to change… possibly.
The Unicode Consortium recently announced a possible method for creating a wider range of skin colors for users to have access to.
The proposal is still being reviewed but Unicode Consortium president and co-founder Mark Davis said the odds are looking good that Black emoji icons are on the way.
“It isn’t completely set in stone; we are still collecting feedback on the proposal,” Davis said in an email to the Washington Post. “But I think it is very likely.”
The draft of the proposal said that the company understands that users want to see human diversity reflected in the technology they use and Unicode Consortium is ready to provide them with that.
“People all over the world want to have emoji that reflect more human diversity, especially for skin tone,” the draft said.
The update will do more than just add one Black emoji; it will allow users to take any existing emoji and select the skin tone they would prefer to use.
These skin tone swatches would range from a pale, creamy color to a darker brown/Black option.
The skin tone options would be effective for single faces as well as group emoji icons like couples.
The skin tone options would not, however, allow users to change only one person’s skin color in group emoji icons.
The announcement of the possible update comes after Twitter and other social media platforms served as a catalyst for users to voice their complaints.
Timelines across the country were filled with users pushing for Black emoji.
Some users voiced their concerns by joking about the absence of a Black emoji.
“They have Drake from Degrassi on here but no Black people,” one user tweeted along with the wheelchair emoji.
The tweet was a reference to the handicapped character Drake played in the popular teen series.
Others didn’t feel like the lack of diversity in emoji icons was a laughing matter.
“So there’s a gay couple emoji’s but not black person emoji,” another user tweeted. “Just gonna point that out.”
“I just know this IOS 8 update was gonna come with Black emojis,” another user tweeted. “Y’all can keep this.”
Even pop star Miley Cyrus and actor Tahj Mowry joined the call for more emoji diversity.
“It makes me mad that there are no black emojis…” Mowry tweeted back in March.
Cyrus asked her followers to retweet her message if they agreed with the movement to add a Black emoji icon.
The tweet quickly gained more than 6,000 retweets and 2,200 favorites.
If the plans are approved, the ethnically diverse icons could make their way to mobile devices by mid-2015.