Acid house pioneer DJ Pierre was enlisted to narrate a short, animated documentary telling the story of the world-famous smiley symbol. 50 Years of Smiley releases ahead of the 50-year anniversary of the yellow face – which comes in 2022.
With voiceover by DJ Pierre (real name Nathaniel Pierre Jones), the three-and-a-half-minute feature gives a brief overview of the iconic smiley. Viewers will learn that it was originally used as a positive story indicator for a French newspaper in the 1970s. Despite there being many replications and interpretations of the original, their design is in fact a trademarked logo. It then goes on to explain its evolution to represent the “defiant optimism” of the underground community in the tense decade that followed.
While the video doesn’t appear to explain much about Smiley’s use in early rave, there is a quick nod to its association in the form of a short scene featuring a flier with the title “RAVE” and a DJ with turntables performing to a dancing crowd. Later in the video, Jones recounts the story of how the smiley entered the digital world and influenced the emoticons we use today. He goes on to explain smiley’s next campaign, which features 50 collaborations in honor of its anniversary. While details are scarce on what’s to come, the end of the video gives a sneak peek at what could be in store.
At the end of the film, a link to the charitable organization, The Smiley Movement is shared. This is a non-profit organization created by the minds behind the smiling face focusing on issues like social justice, education and climate change.
You can watch the DJ Pierre-narrated 50 Years of Smiley in its entirety below and learn more about The Smiley Movement here.