Last Updated on September 1, 2020
Taniesha Bracken, a 26 year-old woman from Aurora, CO, is petitioning for Animal Crossing: New Horizons to add more “diverse” hair options to the popular video game.
Bracken, who is black, railed against the lack of realism in a game about cartoon animals living in villages, as she believes the game does not currently provide a wide enough range of Afro-style hair options for females.
“It’s almost more sad than frustrating because literally everything on my island is me,” she said in an interview with 9 News. “I have a completely pink island. I have pink villagers, my house is all pink. Everything on my island says me.”
Bracken did not clarify whether the villagers in her real life hometown were also pink in color, but insisted that when it comes to hair, it is vital that the video game adheres closely to real life hairstyles.
She then rambled on about her lifelong insecurities about her hair, and what she perceived as unfair social pressure to look presentable in public.
“I changed my hair my whole life. If you see pictures of me all through middle school and high school my hair was always straight,” Bracken added. “Growing up, I was always taught, ‘You need to straighten your hair to be professional. Brush it back so it’s not unkempt, or not tame.'”
After she posted mockups of prospective new Afro-hair options in a Facebook group, other social justice warriors urged her to start a petition to demand Animal Crossing developer Nintendo EPD incorporate the new styles.
“I was like whatever, I’ll start it and I’ll share it in the group,” Bracken said.
She quickly received 46,000 signatures, which 9 News claims demonstrated the “need for more ethnic representation in the game”.
She then blamed white people for being ignorant of the issue, until her activism caught their attention and notified them of the need for social justice.
“I feel like some people just don’t even think about the issue because it doesn’t affect them. I’ve gotten a lot of those comments too that are like, ‘Wow, I never even realized that this was missing.’ And I’m grateful for that too,” Bracken added. “Because instead of them shutting it out, they’re so accepting even if it’s not something that’s going to directly affect them.”
Nintendo has so far declined to respond to Bracken’s demands. In an effort to promote her cause, Bracken has begun selling ‘Black Gamers Exist’ t-shirts, in the style of ‘Black Lives Matter’ merchandise.
Unlike the U.S. video game industry, Japanese video game developers such as Nintendo have been far more reluctant to bend to the whims of the “woke” mob. However, they have made concessions in U.S. releases of their titles. For example, the Japanese release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons requires players to choose between binary genders at the start of the game, while the English language release does not apply a fixed gender to the player character.