Dear Developers: Say No To Digital Black Face!

When you create a character in a game that's tied to any group, you have to be (super) careful.

FN Meka is a character created by Factory New's co-founders Anthony Martini + Brandon Le, and neither one of these guys remotely resemble the character. There's a Trinidadian rapper by the name of Kyle The Hooligan who was approached to be the voice of the character, he said that he was told that he would have equity in the company... but after getting his voice/sound... he said they ghosted him.

That makes it worse. So they allegedly took advantage of an artist, which happens more often than you think (whether it's music, drawing, painting, and so on), and... the artists/creators get tossed to the side.

Technically FN Meka would've been okay (to a degree) if... (and only if) he were the digital alter ego of a Black real artist, but Factory New played themselves.

I say that FN Meka would've been okay to a degree... because he could've been presented in a different way than the offensive way they took it. Outside of this AI character using the N-word (major facepalm), Factory New had him in stereotypical scenarios. Like... what in the... hell are you thinking? One of the images even showed the character in the act of being beaten by a cop. 

Bringing awareness is one thing, but that's a real life issue that essentially puts words in the mouth of a community. Factory New is safe in that regard because the people who get charged up about members of the Black community speaking out, are not going to be looking for Anthony Martini or... Brandon Le.

The AI character even landed Factory New a record deal with Capitol Records, until the backlash came. Developers, make sure you use Factory New as an example of what not to do. If you don't desire investing in a project that will likely result in a bust, say no to digital Black Face. The Black community already has various opinions about the things certain rappers say and possibly do (if you didn't know), so... what would it look like for a company to try and jump in on that with an offensive caricature?

At the same time, the culture isn't going to roll with that. If FN Meka were a caricature that resembled the creators and rubbed their community the wrong way, it would still be jacked up, but... Factory New would have a legit argument that the character should be able fly. So why didn't he resemble them? This further highlights that it is digital Black Face, and Capital Record should've done their homework.

There are ways to go about doing these sorts of things, which goes back to a digital alter ego. Ever heard of the Gorillaz? They're a virtual band of fictional characters represented by real people. 

Russel Hobbs is a Black character from the band, he's represented by a record producing, art directing, musician + voice actor... Remi Kabaka Jr. 

He's a real person, that's why I had to mention that Factory New played themselves if they really ghosted Kyle The Hooligan to avoid giving him his fair share.