Black emojis hit the market, add diversity to mobile devices

theGRIO REPORT - These black ideograms reflect common emotions and expressions, along with a few cool additions...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

Black emojis have officially hit the market and are ready for download.

So far, two companies have made it their mission to diversify the portfolio of emojis currently offered on mobile devices.

The first is Black Emoji LLC who developed an app, titled Black Emoji, that provides over 250 emojis with deep-brown skin in both male and female representations.

These black ideograms reflect common emotions and expressions, along with a few cool additions.

Oju Africa is another mobile company, based in Mauritius – an island off the southeast coast of Africa, that has also executed their mission of diversifying the current emoji keyboard.

This week, the company released their own set of black emojis and while they only offer a limited number (there are only 15 emojis), it shows an increasing effort to express more ethnicities through emojis.

“At Oju we have identified a need, we Africans need a voice in today’s modern world, a voice that represents us in the computer driven present and future,” Oju writes on its website, according to the Huffington Post. “An African voice that not only understands the African way, but supports all our diverse cultures and bring to life all our emotions, passions and our warmth as a continent in a proudly African way.”

The Black Emoji app is now available for purchase for 99 cents. Smartphone users can access and download it through the App Store, however, they should remain wary that the new all-black emoji keyboard does not have the capability to fully integrate with the standard text message app.

Instead, users who download Black Emoji are only permitted to type messages into the third-party app, which later prompts them to copy and paste their text and send to their desired contact.

As for Oju’s newly-released set, it is currently available at the Android Play Store. An iOS version is expected to be released “soon.”

There are only two non-white emoji’s currently available in Apple’s iPhone features: one an Asian man and another one wearing a turban.

Petitions have launched urging Apple to add more diversity to the Emoji Keyboard.

Meanwhile, representatives of the technology company say they are aware of the lack of diversity and are working towards improving it.

Follow Lilly Workneh on Twitter @Lilly_Works