Throughout February, Kathryn Hicks, Deia Green, Enoch, Jasmine Roberts, Masharzim McCann, Lafiya Watson Ramirez, and Pamela Taylor took Snapchatters on an immersive AR adventure focusing on two main themes: Rare and Untold Stories shares overlooked facts and stories about the Black experience, while Revisiting History and the Promise of Tomorrow recognizes how far the Black community has come by highlighting significant accomplishments and ideals for the future. Check out our Twitter Spaces discussion below to hear more about the Lens Collection from the creators behind the project.
By Kathryn Hicks
Kathryn’s stylish Lens is part fashion statement, part history lesson. Don her Buna Shades — named after the traditional Ethiopian Buna coffee-making ceremony — and then take a tour of Ethiopian history to learn the unlikely story behind how coffee was discovered.
“AR is a superpower. It gives a sense of magic and wonder to the audience. I’m a big coffee nerd and wanted to highlight the little-known fact that coffee has Black origins.”
By Deia Green
Enter a virtual Hollywood hall of fame to explore the women who paved the way for Black people in entertainment. Listen to Hattie McDaniel — the first Black person ever to win an Oscar — give her acceptance speech as you learn about the achievements of iconic leading ladies like Juanita Hall, Ella Fitzgerald, and Whoopi Goldberg.
“My mission is to intertwine AR and Black culture. I want to bring AR to the Black community and merge the two, because there’s so much possibility in this space.”
Take a tour through Black history and witness major milestones in science, engineering, poetry, civil rights, politics, and more as you listen to the moving words of Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous I Have a Dream speech. Explore the lives and contributions of great thinkers, activists, and inventors, including W. E. B. Du Bois, Rosa Parks, Katherine Johnson, and Nathan Green.
“Whenever Black History Month comes around, the main focus is mostly centered around the civil rights movement. I wanted to focus on the history of individuals who made significant contributions, but weren’t given the spotlight they deserve.”
By Jasmine Roberts
Sit back and enjoy the ride as your own personal AR pilot guides you through the true story of some of America’s greatest heroes — the Tuskegee Airmen. Discover how a brave group of Black pilots overcame discrimination to become the first Black military pilots for the United States, flying countless missions during World War II and playing an integral role in the Allied powers’ victory, ultimately breaking down barriers for future generations of Black aviators.
“The power of storytelling connects people in the diaspora back to their roots. That’s something I’m passionate about.”
By Masharzi McCann
Step into the future with Masharzi’s Lens creation to experience what she describes as her ancestors’ wildest dreams. Explore a high-tech laboratory portal managed by Black researchers, and celebrate how far the Black community has come in science, engineering, and math. Inspiring quotes from Harriet Tubman and political scientist Dr. Samuel Dubois Cook adorn the walls, reminding us that anything is possible.
“I wanted to use AR to show how far we’ve come as a people. I love being able to share my perspective with others through augmented reality, and I want to inspire others to share their voice as well.”
By Lafiya Watson Ramirez
Lafiya’s Lens turns history into an interactive scavenger hunt. Simply scan your surroundings to learn about countless inventions and discoveries by Black innovators. From alarm clocks, bicycles, and ice cream, to washing machines, traffic lights, and refrigerators, learn about the Black inventors and entrepreneurs who helped shape today’s society.
By Pamela Taylor
If you’re a sports fan, you’ll love this AR memorial honoring the all-time greatest Black athletes who pioneered their sports. Tap each pillar to learn more about athletes like Althea Gibson, the first Black tennis player to compete at the US National Championships, or Robert Lee Elder, the first Black golfer to play in the Masters Tournament. These incredible stories of perseverance and achievement will leave you feeling inspired.