Search Results: Janae Thomas

Two Women Team Up to Create an Afro Emoji

Two women with natural hair, Rhianna Jones and Kerrilyn Gibson, are coming together to create change so that curly hair is represented in emojis to help foster social acceptance and conversation around natural hair.

Two Women Team Up to Create an Afro Emoji
Image Source: Metro

Creator, Rhianna Jones and Designer, Kerrilyn Gibson have proposed an afro emoji to create representation digitally. Rhianna created the #AfroHairMatters campaign to serve the online interaction of this generation. She believes that every person truly deserves to see themselves in their digital conversations. Emojis are creative symbols that bring personality to digital platforms. Rhianna knows that many kids with afro hair are growing up in this digital generation, and wants them to be able to see themselves on screen. She hopes that many children will be proud of their natural hair, and having their reflection visible will be sure to help.

In a recent NY Times interview Jones explains, “With the Afro emoji, I want to create a space where we can bring that big-hair energy and celebrate our roots in digital spaces,” said Ms. Jones, who added that it was important that the emoji be “for us, by us.

“It would be impossible for any singular design to encompass the mul-titextural complexity of Afro hair, with the variety in coils, lengths, volumes,” she said. “However, we feel our design is discernibly an Afro; it grows up, defies gravity and takes up space.”

Rhianna officially launched a petition targeted to Unicode, which sets the standard for computer coding for the computer industry. Top executives from Google, Apple, Facebook, and other tech companies are all included in The Unicode Consortium. This group meets every quarter to agree on and approve emojis once every year. The digital petition gained an overwhelming amount of public and media support. In just the first month, she received over 50,000 signatures from all over the world. People of all languages, ages, and backgrounds have left incredibly powerful comments on their personal hair journeys. 

Two Women Team Up to Create an Afro Emoji
Image Source: NY Times

Many more signatures are still needed. To be exact, 14,263 more signatures are needed for the petition goal to be reached. Signatures are currently still being accepted! You can tell Unicode that natural afro hair matters right now by signing the online petition. Signing the petition is super easy and quick. You can sign it here! Share it on Facebook and Twitter and have your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors sign it too!

Rhianna loves her natural hair and the happiness it brings her. To her, her afro is more than just a hairstyle. Her afro is an iconic symbol for cultural history and pride. The afro emoji also serves as a symbol for our culture. She feels that the afro emoji isn’t just about big hair. It also symbolizes our culture’s big voices, big stories, and big energy. This emoji will represent the big personalities of the current culture. Overall, the #AfroHairMatters campaign is more than just a promotion of emojis. Rhianna wants this campaign to diversify the conversations people are having in real life and digitally. She also suggested a wide variety of skin tones, gender identities, and ages in her proposal to compliment this concept.

“The fact that NYC had to make anti-black hair discrimination a human rights violation speaks to the fact that this is a pervasive issue that needs to be tackled. It’s not okay in 2019 that people are being policed just for existing and just for wanting to celebrate their natural selves and not abiding to the incredibly toxic, chemical, expensive, procedures that we take on to adhere to these societal constructs. Ultimately, I would love to get to the place where people of color only straighten their hair or modify their hair natural because they want to not because they feel the need to.”

It is Rhianna’s and Kerrilyn’s ultimate goal that people all around the world come together to share their hair stories while redefining the beauty norms, for hair inclusivity to prosper. With inspiration from the afro emoji, she hopes that many will embrace their skin and the hair that they’ve been given, and are in.

Do you want to sign the petition? Sign it and share it here!

Marsai Martin and Nico Parker Grace Teen Vogue with Stunning Natural Hair

Nico Parker and Marsai Martin graced the the March/April 2019 cover of Teen Vogue serving natural hair inspiration and style goals. Nico Parker wore her natural curls, full of volume and bounce. Marsai Martin wore very sleek and neat cornrows. These two up-and-coming 14-year-olds don’t let their age stop them from being powerful in Hollywood.

Marsai Martin and Nico Parker Grace Teen Vogue with Stunning Natural Hair

Photographer: Bec Parsons; Stylist: Ashley Furnival

Confidence and Power

Both of Marsai and Nico play in roles as young heroes who show their power. These young ladies are mindful of all of their decisions and words, and the power that they have in them. Both actresses are learning about the importance of speaking up for themselves as they grow older, whether they are working with a group of adults on set or hanging out with their friends. Nico and Marsai also both believe in having confidence. Nico knows confidence is important when she stands up for what she truly believes in, and when she thinks she is right. Marsai believes that what you have to say does matter, and that you have to have confidence in your voice so that it can be heard. She told Essence, “You don’t really see a 14-year-old girl creating her own stuff and actually making it into theaters,” she adds. “That’s why you have to start working with people that will trust you and will believe that you can do it and will trust that you can carry…such a big responsibility.”

Marsai Martin and Nico Parker Grace Teen Vogue with Stunning Natural Hair

Photographer: Bec Parsons; Stylist: Ashley Furnival

How They’re Challenging the Narrative in Media

Marsai planned to change what has been considered “normal”, through her film Little. She wanted the film to have an all-black leading cast, and a black woman as the director. Marsai feels that the filmmaking industry needs more representation, and she will keep creating and working on projects to make it happen. “I’ve never worn an Afro…in any performance or for a character,” Martin, who’s played Diane Johnson on ABC’s Blackish, a sitcom centered on a Black family, for more than 100 episodes, said. “And when I was able to create such a strong character where she can do whatever she wants, I wanted her to wear her natural hair and be confident. No one can take her down — all of that would be in her hair.”

Marsai Martin and Nico Parker Grace Teen Vogue with Stunning Natural Hair

Photographer: Bec Parsons; Stylist: Ashley Furnival

Nico Parker

Nico will have her first acting role in the movie Dumbo (in theaters on March 29, 2019″>. Nico Parker stars as Milly Farrier in Dumbo. Milly Farrier dreams of being a scientist that views Dumbo as the magical being that he truly is, and not as a moneymaker or freakish outcast. Milly Farrier is caring, adventurous, and is the only stable person in her family that is unstable. Milly and her little brother use their critical-thinking skills and patience, which saves the lives of Dumbo and his mom. These two accomplish this by not listening to those who doubted them, and said that they view the world wrong due to being young. Currently, Nico is continuously auditioning for more roles.

Marsai Martin and Nico Parker Grace Teen Vogue with Stunning Natural Hair

Photographer: Bec Parsons; Stylist: Ashley Furnival

Marsai Martin

Marsai has made history by being the youngest executive producer in Hollywood for the movie Little. Marsai is also the founder of her company Genius Productions, which she created in 2017. It signed a deal with Universal for her projects. Marsai has pitched another film with Universal called StepMonster, which she will also star in.

In the film Little (in theaters on April 12, 2019″>, Marsai Martin stars in the role of the younger version of Jordan Sanders, a tech CEO who is portrayed by actress Regina Hall. Jordan Sanders is very stylish and confident. Jordan Sanders is also a very successful businesswoman, due to being demanding. Jordan gets cursed through magic and has to live out her preteen years all over again as a punishment for being mean, and treating her employees unkindly. Marsai Martin plays the younger ambitious Jordan with bright ideas, who is scarred by her school talent show where her big ideas caused her to get attacked. When she works her way to being a grown-up again she learns that she became a bully because she was previously bullied, which she always knew deep inside.

Both Nico Parker and Marsai Martin are powerful, and they both play powerful characters in Little and Dumbo. Whether on or off camera, they both prove that you can be successful no matter your age. 

What movie will you go see? Let us know in the comments below.

The First Animated Film About Natural Hair You Must See: Hair Love

Natural hair is making its mark in the animated film industry this year! Do you have a little naturalista at home? Whether you or a friend has a daughter, niece, cousin, or neighbor with natural hair, you have to be sure to take her to see the short animated film called Hair Love, which tells an empowering story about natural hair.

The First Animated Film About Natural Hair  You Must See Hair Love
Image Source: kickstarter

This Year, the animated film on natural hair will be in theaters. The film, Hair Love which was created by Matthew A. Cherry presents a story about a black father doing his daughter’s natural hair for the very first time. This animated short film has the duration of 5 minutes, which is just enough time to make a lasting impact on all viewers.

The First Animated Film About Natural Hair  You Must See Hair Love
Image Source: matthewacherry

Hair Love will also become a published children’s picture book. Kokila Books/Penguin Random House will publish Hair Love on May 14, 2019. Hair Love will be available through barnesandnoble, penguinrandomhouse, amazon, and greenlightbookstore.

Hair Love was originally supported through a Kickstarter campaign from 2 years ago in 2017. The campaign helped raise money for the short film. The campaign broke records for fundraising history through Kickstarter, which led to Sony Pictures Animation’s involvement with the short film. $300,000 was raised through Kickstarter for Hair Love. Out of all the film projects on Kickstarter’s platform, Hair Love received the most funding and support. To check out the creator of Hair Love, Matthew A. Cherry’s Kickstarter page click here. Sony Pictures Animation’s President Kristine Belson understands that audiences want have been craving to see new stories that are relatable and true to different cultures, and supports the storyline of the film. The directors Peter Ramsey and Frank Abney, of Sony Pictures Animation’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will serve as executive producers for Hair Love.

The First Animated Film About Natural Hair  You Must See Hair Love
Image Source: matthewacherry

The creator and writer, Matthew A. Cherry felt passionate about getting the father-daughter story out to the world. The inspiration behind Hair Love came from observing a lack of representation in animated mainstream films. Cherry wanted to encourage young women and men of color to love their natural hair.

Matthew A. Cherry is excited to direct and produce Hair Love with continued support. Prior to becoming a filmmaker, Matthew A. Cherry was a professional NFL player. Matthew A. Cherry played as a wide receiver for the Baltimore Ravens, Cincinnati Bengals, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the Carolina Panthers. In 2007 Cherry retired from his professional football career, and relocated to Los Angeles, California to work on his entertainment career.

Cherry has previously worked as a director on music videos for musicians including Snoop Dogg, K’Jon, Beyonce, Michelle Williams, Kelly Rowland, Bilal, Jazmine Sullivan, Kindred The Family Soul, and many more. His first feature film called The Last Fall is currently available for viewers on Netflix, which originally debuted at the 2012 SXSW Film Festival. Cherry’s second feature film called 9 Rides was created and captured with two IPhone 6’s, which debuted at the 2016 SXSW Film Festival. To learn more about Matthew A. Cherry’s film and television work visit his website,

Whether you see the film or buy the book, Hair Love will inspire all audiences to love their natural hair, and will celebrate all daughters and daddies of color. Take a little naturalista to see the Hair Love film, purchase the book for her, or both!

Who will you take to see the short film? Who will you buy the book for? Share in the comments below!

Learn about 10 books you can read to curly kids here.

Check out even MORE books written for curly kids here.

Crazy about books with curly characters? See them here.

New York Bans Discrimination on Natural Hairstyles
New York Bans Discrimination on Natural Hairstyles

Image source @naturallycurly

Did you know that New York City has banned discrimination on natural hair textures and natural styles? Yes, that’s right! The policing of natural hair textures and natural styles is officially stopping in New York City. As of February 2019, race discrimination that is based on natural hair textures and natural styles is officially illegal in New York City. The New York City Commission on Human Rights has officially released a brand new legal enforcement guidance that addresses race discrimination that is based on natural hair.

New York City is officially ending discrimination based on natural hair styles and natural textures. Protection is now ensured for New Yorkers who are black, who choose to wear their natural hair. Due to individuals experiencing disciplinary actions in schools or at work for wearing their natural hair, the law will stop discrimination for education, housing, employment, business, and public matters.

The New York City Commission on Human Rights wrote the law, and expressed that since racial discrimination has been banned, hair texture and style are both a part of racial expression. Because natural hair textures and styles are considered as a form of racial expression, they are not to be discriminated against. Going forward natural hair textures whether untreated or treated, and natural styles including Afros, locs, fades, cornrows, Bantu knots, braids, and twists can no longer face discrimination. Individuals also have the right to wear their natural hair untrimmed and uncut, and not experience discrimination.

If needed, legal action can now be taken by individuals that wear their natural hair texture and natural styles in New York City. This new law supports victims of discrimination and harassment based on natural hair when going to civil court. Defendants can be legally fined up to $250,000, and plaintiffs can be given monetary damages for discrimination based on natural hair textures and natural styles. If you live in New York City, know your rights! You can now stand up, stand strong, and take action! If your family, friends, or someone you know lives in New York City, spread the word on the new law.

Now that the discrimination of natural hair textures and natural styles is stopping in New York City, the hope of the expansion of the law spreading all the way across the country of the United States can be done in confidence.

Having support from a city in the United States for black culture and the natural hair community is quite a milestone in black history. The New York City Commission on Human Rights could not have chosen a better time to release the law, considering that it has been released in the month of February of 2019, during Black History Month. This significant step has made a historic mark in black history. Since being publically released, the new legal enforcement guidance that addresses racial discrimination that is based on natural hair textures and natural styles has been been given public recognition and acknowledgment with gratitude.

Do you think other cities should adopt this law?