You are in your work setting and you are rocking a new style that took almost all weekend to complete. It’s another normal day at work and honestly, you are just making it through your day. Your-workers notice the new style from afar and here come the hands. You immediately cringe and tell them to keep their distance from your head. They look puzzled at this and you have to engage in the whole personal space conversation yet again. Yes, these are conversations women of color but mostly Black women endure daily. These encounters happen so often, a woman and her team wanted to recreate a humorous and enjoyable version of it. Only with us swiping their hands away from the hair.
Momo Pixel and her team created a game that shed some light and humor on this encounter and named it Hair Nah. The game went viral and became this whole phenomenon. Black women all over started laughing and enjoying playing a game that replicated their own experience. We had the pleasure to speak with the creator about her career role and inspiration towards the game.
Now, what led you specifically to design a game on every Black woman’s pet peeve?
I made it because it had become my pet peeve. It’s easier to make something that relates to you or from your experience. I had 26 years of nobody touching my hair and then all at once *PAT PAT*. When I moved to Portland, it was all hands on hair. So after a year of that, I was like nah. Hair Nah. I’m going to create a game. I wouldn’t have made it if I had not of moved here. I’m actually thankful for the everything that’s happened to me. It helped inspire me to have this idea.
What are some of the daily challenges in your career field & how do you overcome them?
I would say fighting for your ideas, explaining your ideas well enough to be received, racial misunderstandings, and time management. For the most part, my job is pretty chill. I love it! I’m an Art Director at Wieden+Kennedy. I work with a Copywriter, and together we come up with ideas for clients. Then, we pitch them to our Creative Directors. They choose the ones they like and tell how to make the ideas better. Once everyone digs em, then we pitch the ideas to the clients. The client gives feedback, we fix, change, or keep it the same, then we go make it.
So within that process, I have to fight for my ideas. If there is something that I think is really good or something within that idea that I feel strongly about. I have to speak up. Working at WK has really helped me speak more appropriately. Then, another challenge is being able to explain your ideas well. Sometimes you think that everyone gets it because this idea has been swimming in your head for weeks, months maybe more. But no one knows that. You have to flush that thing out and make it as easy for someone else to understand as possible. Next, of course, I’m a black woman and with that comes its own work challenges.
Lastly, I would say time management. Trying to manage work life, personal work life, and you need to relax life. Last year I was definitely slipping on successfully managing these. But new year, new go. So we’ll see.
Did you expect this huge explosion of celebration when you launched the game?
I mean I spoke it, thought it, worked towards it and it happened! I knew in my soul Hair Nah would go viral. I just didn’t know it would be a global game! I was recently sent a magazine from Germany that features the game. That is so dope! So many different people from various countries have featured the game, wrote about it, messaged me. It’s amazing truly. And I don’t think I was prepared for how connected to everyone I’d feel. It so great connecting with other people who have had this experience, or people who appreciate the game’s art, or folks who get the humor in it. I wasn’t ready for all the love and overwhelming feelings of validation.
Has this new found success provided a new lifestyle for you or just new opportunities?
Hmm, that is a great question! I mean the game was free. Haha, so it’s not like I’m rolling in a Lamborghini now. But, It definitely provided new opportunities. I’m able to travel and talk to different tech conferences about diversity in gaming, in tech, in art. For instance, I’m going to Afrotech fest! It’s in the UK running from Jan 26th-27th. I’m excited because I get to help inspire others to be better than me. Be themselves. Also, it connected me to people who I wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise. The biggest thing is my name is out there now. That to me is the success because that was my goal of 2017. To get my name known. So now it holds weight. I can do more things or be respected as such, lol, because I proved myself.
Also, it connected me to people who I wouldn’t have been able to reach otherwise. The biggest thing is my name is out there now. That to me is the success because that was my goal of 2017. To get my name known. So now it holds weight. I can do more things or be respected as such, lol, because I proved myself.
Now, you love to explore your style choices from kitty hoodies to being an ice princess, what’s your favorite character to dress as?
Haha, yea I love to change my look and experiment. But because of that, I don’t think I have a favorite. I’m always trying to best myself. I look at what I’ve done before and I try to figure how I can make them look better. What can I do to outdo? Ya know. But I will say one of my favorites so far is the pixel dog look. My eyebrows, hair color, and pixels were all popping. I really dug that look. I feel like Lisa Frank. (Kanye voice)
Lastly, how would you describe your journey to those young queens who aspire to be in your shoes one day?
I would say that my journey has been dependent upon God, my self-determination/stubbornness, and friends. I don’t really have a family. I mean I did but they shunned me and made my childhood hell. But along the way, I made friends with my teachers from high school and online friends. They really believed in me and made me believe in myself. I had to learn what that was. They introduced me to art school and pushed me to apply. I use to always doubt myself, but my friends really believed in me.
And now, I believe in myself.
So I would say belief in yourself, love yourself, and trust your ideas. No one can tell you how to be you or what decisions will work the best for you. But they can help give you the knowledge that they know and support you. So listen. Be open to hearing people out and know when people are truly looking out for you. But at the end of the day, you gotta look out for yourself. You got this!! If you get the flame started others will help you keep the fire going.