Baltimore 7th Grader Cahree Myrick Wins National Chess Championship

National Chess Champion Cahree Myrick (photo via instagram)

by Devin Bartolotta via baltimore.cbslocal.com

Baltimore is now home to a national chess champion.  7th grader Cahree Myrick came out on top last week against hundreds of other students. He is the best in the country after taking home a mega-trophy from the U.S. Chess Federation’s National Tournament.

Chess is more than just a hobby for Roland Park Middle School’s  Myrick, who has worked very hard for this title. “I expected to do well, but I didn’t expect to win the whole thing,” Myrick said. The Roland Park team practices four days a week after school. Myrick’s coach even gives them homework to stay sharp. “They work hard during the school year and everybody wants to be on the team and wants to go, so we try to take as many as we can,” said teacher Annett Zimmer.

Four other students from Roland Park went to nationals. As a team, they placed 13th out of more than 40 teams. Roland Park Middle School has won the national title twice as a team. Cahree, whose been playing since 1st grade, says the strategy is his favorite part of the game.“I think [my favorite part it] practice and studying the board,” Myrick said. “Because in order to be successful, you need to know tactics, you need to know all of the rules.”

To read more and see video, go to: Checkmate: Baltimore 7th Grader Now National Chess Champion « CBS Baltimore

Also, this: https://theundefeated.com/allday/baltimore-kid-stunts-on-chess-tournament-in-nike-slides/

‘Hidden Figures’ Inspires LEGO to Honor Women of NASA in New Playset

article via vibe.com

Because of Hidden Figures, the film about a group of African-American women who contributed to NASA’s space program in the 1960s, are hidden no more. To continue to honor the Women of NASA’s legacy and inspire other young women, Lego is launching a new toy set of mini-figures.

The collection, which was brought to life by Maia Weinstock, will include NASA trajectory expert Katherine Johnson, whom Taraji P. Henson played in the film, as well as MIT computer scientist Margaret HamiltonFortune reports. The mini-figures will also include Mae Jemison, first African American woman in space; Sally Ride, first American woman in space, and physicist Nancy Grace Roman. In addition to its many characters, the set will include mini versions of computer programming machines, and the historic Hubble Space telescope.

“We’re really excited to be able to introduce Maia’s Women of NASA set for its inspirational value as well as build and play experience,” a Lego representative said in an official statement. The toy company’s goal is that the new figure will inspire girls to pursue careers in STEM, technology, and engineering.

(image via notable.ca)

(image via notable.ca)

To read more, go to: http://www.vibe.com/2017/03/hidden-figures-lego-toy-set-nasa/

American Girl’s “Girl of the Year” for 2017 is African-American Doll Gabriela McBride

The new American Girl doll Gabriela McBride is a dancer and poet, inspiring girls to use their voice to help others. (COURTESY OF AMERICAN GIRL )

article by Constance Gibbs via nydailynews.com

Dollmaker American Girl named its “Girl of the Year” Friday, revealing a new African-American doll named Gabriela McBride.  She’s the first Girl of the Year doll since 2011 who wasn’t white. American Girl, a Mattel-owned company, sells the popular — but expensive, at $115 a pop — 18-inch dolls that aim to teach young girls about different historical eras and perspectives. The dolls also come with books, outfits, and accessories to personalize each one.

American Girl dolls have always been hot sellers, but there has been resurgence in popularity in the last few years. Mattel said in October that American Girl sales were up 15% in the last year.  Gabriela McBride, the company’s newest addition to its “Girl of the Year” line — dolls that are sold just for one year — has a back story in which she dances, teaches children about poetry, and wants to save her community center.

Gabriela comes with a book and dance related accessories.

Gabriela comes with a book and dance related accessories.  (COURTESY OF AMERICAN GIRL)

“The goal has always been to be able to create mirrors and windows for girls to see either a direct reflection of themselves or a window into a life or a culture that may be different from their own,” Stephanie Spanos, an American Girl spokesperson told The Daily News.  Gabriela follows previous diverse “Girls of the Year” Marisol, a Latina girl (2005), and two Japanese-American dolls from 2006 and 2011.

It’s also the first time three black dolls — Gabriela, Melody, the Civil Rights era doll introduced this year, and Addy, a former slave — are on the market at the same time.

“Overall, we’re just really proud to feature a diverse and inclusive set of dolls,” Spanos told the News.

Other permanent dolls of color include native Nez Perce girl Kaya and Mexican Josefina. An African-American and a Chinese-American doll were both archived in 2014.

To read full article, go to: American Girl diversifies with new African-American doll – NY Daily News

TOYS: Nigeria’s “‘Queens of Africa” Dolls Are Coming to America

queens of africa doll

article via eurweb.com

Back in 2007, a Nigerian businessman Taofick Okoya struck gold you could say when he founded the “Queens of Africa” doll line with the motto: “Empowering the African girl child.”

The “Queens of Africa” range of dolls highlight various African ethnicities, as well as a variety of African hairstyles (customers may opt for dolls rocking an afro, or alternatively one with braids or braid extensions), reports Forbes.

Okoya’s mission is to spread a message which enforces young black girls their self-esteem, allowing them from an early age to have role models they can relate to. This summer, Okoya and his posse of dolls will travel across several cities in the United States, to meet and greet American clients, while further expanding the Queens of Africa footprint.

‘I got into the doll business by chance. At that time my daughter was young, and I realized she was going through an identity crisis,’ Taofick tells me when I reach out to the Lagos-based founder over the phone. He further adds, ‘She wished she was white, and I was trying to figure out where that came from. I used to always buy her white dolls, and it never got to me that is was relevant which color her dolls were. On top of that, we have DSTV in Nigeria where children watch the Disney programs, and all her favorite characters were white. I started to understand why she’d feel the way she did, ‘cause it was all that she’d been exposed to,’ the Queens of Africa dolls creator explains.

The report goes on to say that even though the dolls’ body parts are manufactured in China, they are assembled in Nigeria. And here’s the good part. Taofick also empowers local communities of stay-at-home mothers, who make money off of braiding the dolls’ hair and creating outfits.

“It takes about three hours braiding the hair. One of these women has made 60,000 Naira (roughly $300) doing this.”

This summer Taofick will tour across New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Houston, throughout the months of June and July. In April he already made a first stop in Atlanta, to meet with wholesale buyers and customers, as part of the Coming to America tour. At present the dolls are already available for order to the American audience via Amazon, in addition to the Queens of Africa online store. On top of that, the dolls are sold by a Senegal-based retailer, as well as e-tailers based in France and Australia. Ghana, South Africa and Brazil, are next on his list.

‘We’re planning on taking part in American toy fairs where we can meet with retailers. Our ultimate goal is to be sold by the major stores in the US. I personally believe it will be less difficult to sell the dolls in America, compared to Nigeria. In Nigeria the doll culture is still being developed, so it’s easier to sell within a market that is already there, as opposed to having to create that market.’

You can get the FULL story at Forbes.

Buy/See the dolls at Amazon.

Prima Ballerina Misty Copeland Gets Her Own Barbie Doll

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Misty Copeland and her doll (photo courtesy MATTEL INC.)

article by Yesha Callahan via theroot.com

Misty Copeland has been immortalized by Mattel. The Barbie creator debuted its Misty Copeland doll today and, like Ava DuVernay’s doll, it’ll likely fly off the shelves.

The doll that honors Copeland, who made history when she became the first African-American woman to be named principal dancer at the world-renowned American Ballet Theatre, is just another step in Mattel’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and part of its Sheroes Collection.

“I always dreamed of becoming an ABT ballerina, and through Barbie, I was able to play out those dreams early on,” Copeland said in a press release. “It’s an honor to be able to inspire the next generation of kids with my very own Barbie doll.”

The Misty Copeland doll will is available for preorder on Amazon.com and Mattel’s site.

Taraji P. Henson & Terrence Howard are Getting Their Own “Empire” Dolls

Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson (Chuck Hodes/Fox)

article by Nick Maslow via ew.com

Move over, Barbie and Ken — Cookie and Lucious Lyon need some space on toy store shelves. Fans of Fox’s hit Empire will soon be able to purchase a line of collector dolls inspired by Taraji P. Henson and Terrence Howard’s beloved characters, doll maker Tonner-One World announced Thursday.

Although images of the actual dolls are not yet available, the announcement was accompanied by sketches capturing Cookie and Lucious’ signature looks. Clad in a leopard mini-dress and oversized fur coat, Cookie is seen putting one heel in front of the other, no doubt ready to fling one of them across the room should she feel the need. Meanwhile, Lucious exudes cool confidence in a vibrant purple suit paired with a light turtleneck. Continue reading

American Girl Debuts African-American Doll From Civil Rights Era

article via cbsnews.com

American Girl is celebrating its 30th anniversary. Since 1986, the business has sold more than 29 million dolls and more than 153 million books.

This summer, it will release a new historical doll. CBS News went where no cameras have been allowed before — inside the design studio to get the first exclusive look at Melody Ellison, the company’s third African American doll in its BeForever historical line.

For the last 30 years, American Girl dolls have brought countless smiles to faces of little girls.  “I think it’s that we stayed true to our mission and purpose and while it’s easy to call us a doll company, we’ve always seen ourselves as storytellers,” said Julia Prohaska, vice president of marketing.

Prohaska said their dolls come with books that tap into imaginations, while providing a rich history lesson.  “We put at the center stories and advice for girls that really are intended to help them be their personal best,” Prohaska said.

Continue reading