Kinda Funny video essay highlights the gaming industry’s struggles with black hair
Image: Insomniac Games
Black gamers are likely quite familiar with the video game industry’s lack of representation when it comes to black hairstyles in games. It’s an issue that’s plagued even the most celebrated AAA titles, and the subject of a new video essay from Kinda Funny.
In the latest episode of The Blessing Show, Kinda Funny Games Host/Producer Blessing Adeyoe Jr. reflects on the gaming industry’s disappointing history when it comes to providing authentic hairstyles. He touches on games like Elden Ring and XCOM 2, which don’t offer much for black gamers outside of the basic afro and cornrows options.
In addition to highlighting where the industry can improve, the video essay dives deep into why black hair matters in the first place, and the centuries of racism and exclusion that led us to where we are. Blessing speaks with a friend about her experience being threatened by her school’s Vice Principal at graduation over her “ethnic hair.”
The video also features an interview with Del Walker, a former Rocksteady dev who is currently a character artist for Naughty Dog. He talks about the implementation of black hairstyles in games, rating a couple of modern examples. Super Street Figther 6 and Marvel’s Spider-Man: Miles Morales are games where the developers had genuine care for the black characters being depicted on-screen.
Kinda Funny’s new video essay is sharp and informative, highlighting issues that just about every black person who loves video games can relate to. It’s worth giving a watch and keeping in mind for future reference.