‘ye or Nay?

A work in progress in collaboration with illustrator Tajae Keith.

‘ye or Nay? is a game about fitting the description. It is a satirical and cultural take on the classic game Guess Who, except all of the characters are Black men and half of them are Kanye West.

‘ye or Nay? is a tabletop game where players compete to identify a character by asking a series of yes or no questions. Traditionally this kind of game features a broad range of facial features, multiple races and two genders because it is focused on finding binary distinctions. ‘ye or Nay? subverts this practice by depicting only Black men, and turning a gender binary into the far less ridiculous binary of being Kanye West or not being Kanye West.

‘ye or Nay? allows us to examine the language we use to differentiate Black men. What does “brown skin” mean when all of the subjects are brown? What words would be used to distinguish between different types of afro hair textures? How do Black and non-black people unpack “Black male” as a physical description?

The game features mainstream Black men such as West, while also featuring Black men who are less recognized outside of the Black community. The experience differs depending on whether a player is part of the Black community in-group or outside of it, revealing the ways in which language shifts when a minority group is centered in dialogue rather than spoken of in relation/reaction to the dominant culture.

Additionally, the game is a humorous and engaging way to examine “difference” within a minority group that is often painted with generalities, the consequences of which range from trivial to fatal.

See the prototype and concept work below.

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