Tiefling horn on Solange with the Bard College Of Lore logo.

10+ Black Hairstyles I Really Want in ‘Baldur’s Gate 3’ (And Other Games)

I saw things I imagined.

Regardless of genre, video games fail Black hair pretty regularly—especially when it comes to character customization menus. There are a handful of games that do *fine* like Baldur’s Gate 3 and an even smaller group that excels, with games like NBA 2K and Hogwarts Legacy (I’m shocked, too). Heck, some games show up a little late but show out via expansions and updates like The Sims and Animal Crossing. However, these are just that—the exceptions. If we’re lucky, players will get something between an afro, corn rows, and, more recently, the Killmonger locs, but otherwise, it’s pretty bleak. I want better, so I’ve gathered some aspirational hairstyles for curly and kinky hair textures. These are looks I’d love to see in the base versions of games (like BG3) if not in updates or mods.

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While these hairstyles can be worn on any gender, I chose ones mostly worn by women. For one, I’m a woman and like to play women characters. Second, there’s not even a common rotation of more femme Black hairstyles because we are so underrepresented. With a few obvious exceptions, most of these styles can be created with limited visible accessories. (Though, I think the more, the merrier!) These would work in most RPGs, but I have Faerûn on the mind.

Braids and twists

Other than often poorly rendered cornrows (not so-called “boxer braids” as Blizzard likes to pretend), braided hair is one of the most underused Black hairstyles in video games. Almost anything that straight hair can do, braids can do and more!

Two microbraid styles Brandy Norwood donned for 'Moesha.'

Brandy Norwood in Moesha: Micro braids feel like they’re on the cusp of a comeback. And alongside Janet Jackson and Lauryn Hill, Brandy Norwood is one of the faces of this style. Though I love her hair in Cinderella, the variety of styling present in her ’90s sitcom Moesha is standard-setting. Micro braids are not only cute but a durable, protective style perfect for those who adventure with practicality.

Jumbo braids and twists worn by Alicia Keys and Janelle Monaé.
(RCA Records/ Wondaland Records)

Jumbo braids or twists: If we can do a single big ponytail or braid, then we can do three to five. All that’s needed is some bundles and/or yarn. In a rare W for Black women gamers, we’ve actually seen this style before in a game. Street Fighter 6 introduced the world to the aspiring ninja, Kimberly. There’s a big difference between pre-made characters and options in a customization menu, but I still need to highlight how great she looks!

Two Black YouTube hair experts showing Goddess Braids (also known as G-word Braids and BoHo Braids).
(TymarrahGi / Breanna Rutter)

Goddess Braids: Of everything on my wish list, this is probably the hardest to render—but a girl can dream. This look blends in a variety of hair textures for a look that looks alive and almost mid-process without appropriating Romani culture. Speaking of Romani, the colloquial name for this style is G-slur braids or Boho braids. However, we’re not going to do that here. We’re going to call them by their less popular and very fitting name, Goddess Braids.

On locs and beads

Locs are becoming more common in gaming and the sole point of creativity when modeling Black hair. Still, I think we can push this further. Luckily these ladies provide a boatload of references.

Chloe x Halle performing for Billboard and for the Today Show.
(Parkwood Entertainment)

ChloexHalle at any given moment: I refuse to select one performance from the talented sisters ChloexHalle as a point of hair inspiration. Just pick one and put that in a game! While beautiful, I’ve never seriously considered locs on myself until diving into their music. Their stylists have a talent for showcasing how versatile locs can be. Please hire them as consultants!

Adanna Madueke on YouTube sharing a variety of butterfly loc hairstyles.
(screencap of Adanna Madueke)

Butterfly Locs: Okay so maybe that was too vague. One style similar to what I’ve seen on ChloexHalle, but I don’t think I’ve actually ever seen in a movie, TV show, or performance is butterfly locs. The texture and style resemble something between Goddess Braids and curlier locs. YouTube stylist Adanna Madueke has perfected many bob hairstyles with butterfly locs.

Solange Knowles shaking a beaded head for 'Don't Touch My Hair' from 'A Seat at the Table.'
(Saint Heron/ Columbia Records)

Solange Knowles in her A Seat at the Table era: If I saw Solange-inspired hair in a video game I would become the most annoying person. And that’s exactly why I ask this of devs. One of the best Solange looks (sans cowboy hat) is her hair full of beads from the Don’t Touch My Hair video. Beads don’t need to be customizable to match the armor my character is wearing, but it would be nice. Then again, these Earth tones fit naturally with Druids.

Buns and hawks

Any of the previous entries could be styled into updos. However, these next three were born for rolling up your sleeves and lookin’ cute while doing it!

Afro puff moments in Janelle Monáe's 'Pynk' music video from their emotion picture 'Dirty Computer.' (
(Wondaland Records)

The Pynk Afro Puffs: While there are lots of great style options out of Janelle Monáe‘s Cindy Mayweather saga I need afro puffs on this list. The Pynk music video didn’t have one or two, but THREE great afro puff styles. An icon. The jewelry and adornments are nice, but not required to pull this off. I prefer these itty bitty puffs to the larger styles that can get to looking like Mickey Mouse too quick.

Two styles of Type 4 Faux Hawks by YouTube stylists.
(Beyoutyguide / Jane Nashe)

Faux Hawks: One of my favorite Black hairstyles in BG3 was the curly faux hawk called Plucky Fable. When thinking about what would make a great updo, I immediately thought of this but for a greater variety of Black textures. If a character is trying to hide their noble identity, this might not be the best hairstyle, but otherwise, it’s a great selection. These hairstyles are modeled (and taught) by Beyoutyguide and Jane Nashe on YouTube.

Mel B and Logan Browning 25 years apart wearing afro puffs / space buns half up half down.
(Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic and Netflix)

The Half Up, Half Down with Space Buns: The best of both worlds is this look right here, especially for those with short hair and/or a lot of shrinkage. Like micro braids, this is another ’90s trend most remembered by Mel B of the Spice Girls donning them at the 1997 MTV Europe Music Awards. However, they were recently donned by Logan Browning as Samantha “Sam” White in Dear White People‘s finale season, too. Like the afro puffs above, these can stay simple or we can add some hair jewelry.

Afros, but updated

What the media portrays as quintessential afros are actually not that common. (At least not in the American South where it is very humid and very hot.) Here are some fantastic, voluminous updos that I would love to see in a character customization screen.

Kiki Layne in 'If Beale Street Could Talk.'
(Annapurna Pictures)

Kiki Layne in If Beale Street Could Talk: Does anyone really need an explanation? Between this look on Kiki Layne and Solange’s hair for her wedding to Alan Ferguson, we just need this hairstyle more present in general. A fantasy RPG seems like the perfect place because this crown is truly magical. Bonus points if there is a braid at the part!

Teyonah Parris in 'They Cloned Tyrone.'

Teyonah Paris in They Cloned Tyrone: This could have easily been ‘Teyonah Paris in anything (except Mad Men)’ because in Wandavision, If Beale Street Could Talk, and this she wears her hair in similar styles. After much contemplation, I chose this style! Afros in video games tend to keep to that globe shape popularized by the social movements of the ’70s and ’80s. However, this more contemporary look works regardless of when a story is set. It can get longer or shorter and still look fly.

What Black hairstyles would you love to see in a character customization screen?

(featured image: Larian Studios / Saint Heron)

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Image of Alyssa Shotwell
Alyssa Shotwell
(she/her) Award-winning artist and writer with professional experience and education in graphic design, art history, and museum studies. She began her career in journalism in October 2017 when she joined her student newspaper as the Online Editor. This resident of the yeeHaw land spends most of her time drawing, reading and playing the same handful of video games—even as the playtime on Steam reaches the quadruple digits. Currently playing: Baldur's Gate 3 & Oxygen Not Included.