The Sims 4 got an update last week that gave the game some Caribbean-themed hair, clothing and furniture in honour of Carnival. While the hair is phenomenal, the rest has me a little confused.
The Sims as a franchise has had a hard time with black hair. Curly hair is harder to model than straight hair, but in a game about making any kind of character you want, the lack of decent hair for black people, or even people with looser but still curly hair textures, has stood out.
With this free update, the game finally has hair that looks a little bit close to mine, and it’s long overdue.
My excitement about these hairstyles doesn’t excuse the strange clothing choices in this update. When I think of the Caribbean, I think of bold prints and loud colours, but these examples don’t quite hit the mark.
That headwrap is adorable, but otherwise I’m flummoxed. There’s nary a piece of madras fabric in sight, and you’d think that an update for Carnival would include at least one feather- and rhinestone-covered bikini.
These clothing items lack specificity. While the idea is right — especially during Carnival, people in the Caribbean tend to dress flamboyantly — the execution doesn’t really point to the history of the culture. If I hadn’t known that these clothes were inspired by the Caribbean I never would have guessed. The headwrap comes closest, but it’s more a feature of black culture in general than the culture of the Caribbean in particular.
The furniture items are better, as they do communicate the breeziness of island life more than the colour yellow and geometric patterns.
Of all of these, I think I’m going to use that wallpaper the most. I want it in every house I build. I want it in my real house, in real life.
The Sims franchise’s ongoing efforts to reflect their diverse playerbase are admirable, and when it comes to serving players of colour, they’ve made great strides. It’s disappointing that some of these items don’t hit the mark, but at least we can finally give a girl a decent wash and go.