Are you tired of texting your friends with emojis that look NOTHING like you? How many times have you used the “monkey face” smilies wishing that you didn’t have to?
Fret no more! WeMojis™ -the soon-to-launch app based on the skin tones of people of color – will rescue you from that yellow smilie life!
By the end of August, the brand new app will be available on the Apple platform!
We caught up with Trey Brown, the brains behind WeMojis™ and its parent company Prolithia Technologies, to talk about what motivated him and his team to create the app, the process of building it, and what words of advice he has for people trying to break into the “app game!”
What is your name and profession?
My name is Ewart Brown III. That’s super formal so most people refer to me as Trey. I am A Company Developer for WeMojis™. I also own the company that developed the concept Prolithia Technologies Incorporated.
What is your background?
I have been involved with E-commerce since high school as a State Finalist for DECA. I graduated from Howard University in 2011 with a degree in Communications and now work for Howard University’s Office of Development.
What inspired you to become involved in app development?
My internal creative process inspired me to become involved in app development. I strive to think about world changing ideas every day. The question is always “what medium can help me accomplish this idea in a feasible manner”. I saw where the world was headed, towards an app run society, and I knew this would be a way for me to make an impact.
How did the idea for Wemojis come about? What exactly is it (pretend you’re explaining it to someone who has never seen an emoji before).
The idea for WeMojis came about simply through an observation that I had while sitting down with my brother, also head of marketing for WeMojis, that there were no black Emojis in the original set. Emojis are basically icons that are meant to express ones views through picture form on electronic devices. We knew that not only did we need to create black emojis but emojis that would reflect all aspects of the black experience. This is how WeMojis was born.
How long have you and your team been working on it?
We have been working on WeMojis for about a year now. From conception to market.
What has been the most challenging aspect of the process this far?
The most challenging aspect of the process thus far would be the accurate compilation of images that would reflect the black experience to the point where everyone would connect to some image we provided. We knew that we wouldn’t get everything in the first version but we felt that we provided more than enough WeMojis to bring attention to something that had been sorely lacking in the marketplace.
The biggest reward?
The biggest reward would be seeing the app come to life. To see these WeMojis on the screen and knowing that my team and I had made this a possibility for millions of users was indescribable. It was truly amazing.
When can we expect to see the app fully launched and available?
You can expect to see the app fully launched and available by the end of August 2014. We will be featured on popular websites such as WorldStarHipHop and Bossip just to name a few. We will be making the rounds on social media platforms and letting people know the app is available for free download.
What other projects are you working on?
This is a great question! We currently have other projects in the works but after all this time there is one thing about the app game I keep as cardinal rule number one. Never discuss an idea or project until the cogs are set in motion and it’s virtually impossible for someone to come in and take your idea. I will say we are looking at the completion of he second version of WeMojis that will include even more diversity in the app.
Do you have any words of encouragement for young people of color who would like to become involved in app development?
I do have a few words I would like to share. People of color, especially black people are the largest users of social media. We are also under represented. We have a chance to utilize these facts. This can allow us to grow a community of developers that with time will grow into something that we can sustain. From then on we can jump into the bigger market as a whole with some sense of understanding how powerful our presence really is. Both culturally and economically. Adding to that you need to make sure to surround yourself with a great team and the appropriate subject matter experts. I’m talking about people in your network that can get the job done. We had a great consultant by the name of Marcus Huddlestone, a fellow Howardite, who knew the ropes and we went from there.
What are some great online resources for coding and other capacity building that you’d say are helpful for people looking to break into the app world?
If you’re just getting started with coding and things of that nature I wouldn’t recommend trying to jump into the app game without someone assisting you. A consultant who is on their A game and can help you understand that aspect of the app game.
Huge shout out to Trey for his time and insight!
Be sure to check out the WeMojis™ app when it launches later this month!