BeYOUtiful – a new fashion game for African girls!
Usiku Games – a Kenyan social impact gaming start-up has developed BeYOUtiful – a fashion dress up game for African girls. The game enables African women to select clothes, accessories and beauty enhancers to meet their body size, shape and complexion. This is an innovative way of reinventing the typically white-dominant fashion industry while restoring their self-confidence and African fashion sense. The game features bold curvy models and tall slender Maasai women and dark-skinned Ethiopian women, among other models.
Entering the USD$120 Billion gaming industry, Usiku Games has brought competition to the doorstep of the leading global fashion games who have over 20 million downloads according to AppAnnie. The vast majority of the existing western originated fashion games feature a white, Barbie-esque model with unobtainable body shape. These games typically place the model in objectifying and irrelevant scenarios, such as red-carpet events, fashion runways, and princess’ ballrooms.
According to Jay Shapiro, Founder, and CEO, Usiku Games, beYOUtiful has been designed specifically to make African girls feel strong and proud of their appearance. He says, “We have created a refreshing alternative that celebrates African beauty, skin tone, and body shapes. BeYOUtiful harnesses the power of gamification to subtly convince girls that they can do anything and be exactly who they want to be.”
Unlike the existing games, which start with women in skimpy lingerie, the models in beYOUtiful recognize the cultural modesty in parts of Africa, celebrating beauty without objectification.
The game also features models with albinism and women with physical disabilities to celebrate the fact that every woman is beautiful and deserves to feel so. The fashion available to place on these models also represent the local African cultures, including kitenge fabrics and Muslim headdresses designed by top Kenyan fashion designer Wanjiru Muriu-Anami.
Wanjiru says, “We decided to address the issue of body image amongst African women and girls, by creating fashion designs and beautiful looks that they can call their own.” In the future, Usiku Games will be partnering with NGO’s focused on women’s empowerment, to leverage beYOUtiful as a tool for educating girls about their potential, in a fun environment.