Dear Tumblr Fam,

Now more than ever, critical conversations are happening in the public square around issues of diversity and representation in media.

In that spirit, my partners and I are proud to announce the beta launch of our new multi-cultural emoji app iROC Emoticons. It’s the first socially diverse mobile messaging utility to showcase the diaspora of voices seeking to reclaim a sense of pride in their racial, ethnic, gender, class, religious and sexual orientation identity.

You can download the app for iOS at the link above. The Android release is about a week away.

As the disenfranchised among us are finally empowered to tell authentic and personal stories across a range of platforms, it is our responsibility as consumers and creators of media to amplify these efforts.

iROC Emoticons is VERY much a work in progress. As we continue to build out and add new emoticons, I can all but guarantee that you’ll find gaps in the content and maybe even see a lack of representation for a group that you personally identify with. Do not fret my brothers and sisters in fandom. We’ll continue updating the app on a regular basis with new content features.

Our team presumes neither the ego nor arrogance to determine what is culturally and socially relevant to any specific group. That’s why we’ve engaged homegrown taste makers and trend setters from those individual communities and invited them to be cultural curators on our platform.

From celebrities to academics, magazine editors to business leaders, social justice advocates to storytellers — we’ve sought out the best and brightest to help us discover established and emerging voices that will join the iROC Nation and represent for themselves and their communities. We’ll announce some of those strategic partnerships soon.

We’re just getting started but our job isn’t done until we can create the environment where all groups who yearn to be heard can tell their stories THEIR way; Black, Brown, White, Female, Male, Gay, Straight, Trans*, Cis, Native, Asian, People With Disabilities, The 99% and everyone else who has ever felt excluded or devalued.

Invariably we’ll make mistakes. We may offend where we never intended to do so. 

But we’ll approach our task with humility; open to new perspectives and ideas that are not our own and striving to redefine digital communication in the world of mobile natives.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

-Download the app today
-If you are so inclined please rate and review the app (4 and 5 star ratings are greatly appreciated)
-See something that you’d like included (or that you don’t think belongs)? Then tell us about it via e-mail at irocemoticons@gmail.com
-Sign up for our newsletter at www.irocworld.com
-Create Your Own iROC Emoticon and submit to use for inclusion in our Fan Remix Expansion Pack

And as a closing thought (with apologies to the late Dr. Maya Angelou)

I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
iROC!


Trollando Out.