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BLAM App Allows Users to Erect AR Statues of Renowned Black Figures

BLAM, a London-based non-profit, has created an augmented reality app known as ‘History Bites’. It provides users the chance to witness black history memorialized through digital plaques and sculptures. The mobile application was built as part of Black History Month and is aimed at kids. It profiles five famous figures, including renowned personalities like Mae Jemison, the first black lady to indulge in space travel.

Users have to complete a quiz about each of these figures, which lets them place a corresponding monument through augmented reality in the world around them. It allows users to view their history and heritage represented wherever they wish – whether in their neighborhood or famous public places.

Reaffirmation

Ife Thompson, BLAM’s founder, said that they are continuously seeking different ways to counterbalance racism’s effects on black lives. Thompson believes the app can help black kids reaffirm positive notions as well as ideas about their black identity. She further said that through media and racism, these kids are disproportionately exposed to negative concepts and narratives about their blackness. It often results in these kids internalizing wrong stereotypes about themselves as well as others that look like them.

BLAM App Allows Users to Erect AR Statues of Renowned Black Figures

Richest person who ever lived

Thompson believes that it is possible to enhance the racial-esteem of black children by showcasing to them the positive narratives about themselves. It will prevent them from internalizing wrong stereotypes about their racial group. BLAM includes people from across history and the African diaspora, like Musa I, who dominated Mali’s West African empire in the 1300s and is even perceived as the richest person who ever lived.

The app also includes Kwame Nkrumah. He played a distinct role in the Gold Coast colony’s independence from the British and then later became the first president of Ghana. BLAM features two present-day living figures – Stella Dadzie, British author and founder of Organisation of Women of African and Asian Descent, and Mae Jemison, the NASA astronaut.

Black first sculpture

The app also presents the Bristol Bus Boycott, a four-month-long event that occurred in 1963 in the UK, and the Bristol Omnibus Company had to end its discriminatory ban on Asian and black drivers. It is immortalized in BLAM through a raised black first sculpture, which serves as a symbol of resistance and solidarity. Thompson said that the UK does not have enough black people statues. Also, the country’s education system continues to be a white space. She believes that it is not possible to honor something that one has never been taught about.

BLAM App Allows Users to Erect AR Statues of Renowned Black Figures

Local community’s history

As per BBC’s estimates, there are just 15 statues of famous black personalities in the UK. This June, protestors had destroyed Edward Colston, the infamous slave trader’s sculpture during a Black Lives Matter protest in Bristol. It has led advocates like Tom Ravenscroft, Dezeen’s editor, and Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, to speak in their favor and of replacing them with monuments that display the local community’s history.

Several white British artists, including Marc Quinn and Banksy, instantly proposed replacements. The former placed his sculpture of Jen Reid, the BLM protestor, in Colston’s place without official permission.

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