News

Apple's Black Emojis Are Coming (But They're Not The First)

Apple's diversified emoticons are coming, but Mauritius-based app company Oju Africa was first to introduce black emojis.


Screenshot of Oju Emoticon App v1.0 via Oju Africa

Apple's black emojis are on their way. As 9to5mac reports, this morning Apple released a new beta version of iOS 8.3 for testers that includes a more racially diverse character set, which allows users to pick from a palette of skin tones on several different emojis. Users will soon have the ability to click and hold on emoji characters (the ones intended to be people) and select from an option of six skin tones-- which we presume are along the Fitzpatrick Classification Scale. According to The Next Web, there's still no release date for the new emoji features, but Apple is reportedly planning a public beta program to kick off in mid-March. Regardless of when they do launch, though, Apple still won't be the first company to introduce black emojis.

Last April, Mauritius-based app company Oju Africa launched a range of 65 "Afro Emoticons." At the time of their release, Oju (Yoruba for "face") touted their afrocentric emojis as the first ethnically diverse emoticons. "It's very important for us, as a small African company, to make it known to the world that we were the first to do it," the company's Ugandan-born chief executive Alpesh Patel told CNN.

Patel, whose company began developing the icons in late 2012, says they moved up the release date for their Emoticons in response to a public demand for Apple to diversify their emojis — a call that began with a tweet from Miley Cyrus ("RT if you think there needs to be an #emojiethnicityupdate," Cyrus wrote on December 18, 2012). On March 25, 2014, Apple's Katie Cotton (VP of worldwide corporate communications) told MTV the company is working to diversify their emoji character set. As discussions surrounding an "#EmojiEthnicityUpdate" began to spread online, Oju announced they'd already been working to develop black emojis. According to Patel in an interview with CNN, "The reason we launched it [the Afro Emoticons ahead of schedule] is because of this petition from Miley Cyrus and MTV — petition to Apple CEO complaining about the lack of racially diverse emoticons and Apple said 'yes, we're going to look into it.' But within a couple of hours of seeing that, we put our press release out and already claimed ownership — that we have actually developed this already." The first version of the Oju emoticon app has been available for download via Google Play since April (almost a year ahead of Apple's forthcoming black emojis).

Leaked photo of Apple's new emoji skin tone feature via The Next Web

Art

Listen to Saul Williams' New Album 'Encrypted & Vulnerable'

The score for his directorial musical debut, Neptune Frost, which is based on Williams' tale about hackers living in a Burundian village made up of recycled computer parts.

Saul Williams is back with his new album, Encrypted & Vulnerable.

The 13-track album, which is part of his MartyrLoserKing project, is described by Williams as his first "spoken word" album. It was entirely self-produced, mixed by by Gonjasufi and features the likes of Dave Sitek (TV On The Radio), My Brightest Diamond, Christian Scott (Atoms For Peace) and more.

Encrypted & Vulnerable is also the score for Saul Wililams' directorial musical debut, Neptune Frost, which is based on Williams' tale about hackers living in a Burundian village made up of recycled computer parts.

"Encrypted & Vulnerable is simultaneously a personal and intimately optimistic takedown on struggle, defiance, awareness, aloneness, and a takedown of heteronormative capitalistic patriarchal authoritarian politics in topics ranging from love, technology, religion, war, to migration," Williams mentions.

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Still from YouTube

Simi and Adekunle Gold are the Absolute Cutest In Their New Music Video 'By You'

The couple are giving us all the feels in their latest music video.

Simi and Adekunle Gold continue their streak of duets with their latest "By You," from the former's latest album Omo Charlie Champagne Vol. 1.

On the new track, the couple once again deliver loving lyrics and sweet melodies, sharing an accompanying video highlighting their bond. The video behind with what looks like personal footage from the company, later following them around as they adventure across Los Angeles, playfully driving around and even making a stop at the LA staple, Randy's Donuts.

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Image via Twitter.

Giannis Antetokounmpo's 'Coming To America'-Inspired Nike Sneaker Will Be Dropping Very Soon

The Nigerian-Greek NBA MVP is releasing a limited edition run of his Nike collab, 'Zoom Freak 1.'

Giannis Antetokounmpo is set to release a limited edition run of his sneaker, the "Zoom Freak 1" in collaboration with Nike very soon, Konbini reports.

And to top it all off, it's going to be inspired by the classic late 1980s comedy Coming To America—one of Antetokounmpo's favorite movies—where the designs will be made in collaboration with Paramount Pictures.

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