When the latest addition to the Animal Crossing series, Animal Crossing: New Horizons, dropped in March, I couldn’t escape the memes that started appearing on my social media. The popular video game is a hit with players of all ages because of its super cute avatars and the necessary escapism it gave people during the early stages of lockdown.
As fun as it is, the game isn’t without its imperfections. One player named Taniesha Bracken-Hucks noticed a lack of Afro-textured hairstyles available for the customizable characters, and she’s since created a petition to hopefully spark a change. The petition, titled “Create more inclusive hairstyles for Animal Crossing (ACNH),” was started in June and has since has amassed almost 40,000 signatures. Bracken-Hucks tells Allure that she wants her avatar to look more like her — that means adding hairstyle options that she and other Black women often choose. “When I finally decided to embrace and love my natural hair, I was so sad to see that I still didn’t have that option to do so in a virtual world, too.”
Players are able to customize their character’s eyes, lips, hair, and more throughout the game. To start off, everyone has the option of eight different hairstyles in eight different colors. As you play, you can earn Nook Miles — a form of currency — to unlock the other 22 hairstyles available.
Bracken-Hucks designed a few styles (shown below) to give examples of some of the looks she would love to see.
The dearth of Afro-textured hairstyles isn’t exclusive to Animal Crossing. Gamers of color have discussed the overall lack of diversity in video game characters countless times before, pushing developers to create better options. Hopefully, Nintendo and other video game companies will see the petition and begin to offer characters that reflect the diversity of the gamers who play them.
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