Unicode, the consortium responsible for creating new emojis, has released hundreds of new emojis, including a genie, breastfeeding, a woman in a head scarf—the works. If you use a humanlike emoji, like the thumbs-up, then you have to choose one of six skin tones. But how do black people choose the skin tones of their emojis?


“I think for people of color, there’s been such a history where there’s been this force to downplay—this idea of colorblindness—as kind of an experiment that basically failed,” says Richard D. Harvey, associate professor of psychology at St. Louis University. “And I think, given that, there’s a greater sense of wanting to represent, and affirm blackness.”

In honor of the Unicode release and texting’s 25th birthday, The Root went to the streets of New York City to ask actual black people how they “emoji.”


Watch the video above.

Afro-Cuban woman that was born and branded in New York. When León isn't actually creating cool videos, she's thinking of cool videos that she can create.

Share This Story

Get our newsletter