Writer/Advocate Rhianna Jones Launched Afro Emoji Movement for More Representation

Writer and activist Rhianna Jones wants to create an afro emoji so that people with curly natural hair can be represented, too.

“I’ve signed all of my tests and my emails with insert afro emoji here and I just got to this point coming off of Black History Month and rolling into Women’s History Month and all these beautiful spaces with these beautiful humans with this magnanimous hair, that we should be able to celebrate our roots digitally, too,” she explained.

Jones started a Change.org petition to create an official Unicode afro emoji and more than 55,000 people have backed the campaign.
“It’s about this larger lack of afro and natural hair being part of the societal beauty norms and just being able to see ourselves in these spaces and in these conversations, both big and small, is that I want,” she explained.

She collaborated with artist Kerrilyn Gibson to create an emoji design with six skin tone variants. They named the design “Frolange” after singer Solange Knowles. They have since submitted the design to Unicode for 2020.

Jones, who is biracial, says she wanted to make the design inclusive for anyone who has natural hair.

“We wanted to make sure that our design was, you know, decisively and visibly an afro. And it’s not just about the hair style, it’s also about celebrating our culture and celebrating the richness and the history of our roots,” she said.