The excitment surrounding the 250 new emojis that will be released next month was tempered a bit this week by the realization that not one is black. Questlove’s tweeted about it, and even Miley Cyrus tweeted that there needs to be an “#emojiethnicityupdate.” There’s also a petition to get Apple to add more diversity to its emoji offering.
MTV Act reached out ot Apple on the matter, and a company representative said that they recognize the problem. “We agree with you,” wrote Apple Corporate Communications VP Katie Cotton. “Our emoji characters are based on the Unicode standard, which is necessary for them to be displayed properly across many platforms. There needs to be more diversity in the emoji character set, and we have been working closely with the Unicode Consortium in an effort to update the standard.”
News Mic dug a little bit deeper into the controversey and doesn’t buy the company’s explanation. As Zak Cheney-Rice explains:
Apple failed, or possibly didn’t try at all. The Unicode Consortium — which has final say over what becomes an emoji — is a separate entity, but it seems unlikely that a huge corporate partner like Apple would have trouble pushing this through, especially after being so roundly berated by customers.
Either way, it’s game over: Unicode’s 7.0 update is poised to introduce the new emoji set as is, affecting Apple, Google and Microsoft platforms.