Tag: African-American dolls

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

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.

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 “American Girl Debuts African-American Doll From Civil Rights Era”

Miami Mom Angelica Sweeting Creates Beautiful Natural Hair Doll for Her Daughters to Raise Their Self-Esteem

Angelica Doll

Frustrated by an inability to find a doll that highlighted her three daughters’ beautiful African-American features, Angelica Sweeting created one of her own.

Sweeting, 27, of Miami, Florida, created the Angelica Doll after realizing that her daughter Sophia was unhappy with her kinks and curls because of the straight-haired White dolls she played with every day, she said on a Kickstarter page started nearly a month ago to raise money to develop a line of Naturally Perfect Dolls.

“Sophia wanted long straight hair, and she even started expressing a strong dislike for her facial features and skin tone,” Sweeting says. “With the help of my daughters, we created ‘The Angelica Doll’ — the first natural hair 18-inch doll for young girls.”

As she began to develop the doll, Sweeting herself realized that she had been influenced by society’s White beauty standards for as long as she could remember.

“Here I am – 27 years old, and I am honestly just beginning to walk into who I am, my natural beauty,” she said on the fundraising page. “I want this to happen earlier, not only for my daughters but for your daughter, your niece, your sister, and for all young girls around the world. I want this to happen for all the young girls who never felt pretty enough because of their kinks, curls, wider noses or fuller lips.”

The Angelica Doll boasts the face of a beautiful brown girl, including a full nose, fuller lips, beautiful cheek bones, and brown eyes. And the hair can be washed, twisted, bantu knotted, combed, brushed, blown out, and curled just like the hair of brown girls.

“Say goodbye to spray-painted brown Barbie dolls!” Sweeting says. “I’m creating Angelica to let girls know that they are beautiful. Our girls need to see a reflection of their own unique beauty. It’s time for our young girls to have a new standard.”

As of Friday, she’s surpassed her funding goal of $25,000 by over $8,000.

article by Lynette Holloway via newsone.com

*FULL DISCLOSURE FROM GBN: After reading the story above, I immediately went to the Kickstarter page to see the doll.  My own 5 year-old daughter Phoebe lately has been grappling with the exact same issues Angelica Sweeting’s daughter is dealing with.  Phoebe and I watched the site’s video together, and when she saw the Angelica Doll – particularly her curly, versatile hair – she was so excited, she asked to have one right away.  And I bought one right away, so GBN is an official backer of what I feel is an incredibly helpful and worthwhile product.  We can’t wait for it to come and for more Naturally Perfect dolls to be created.

There are still 26 days left to pitch in or buy a doll… there is even an option to get a doll designed to look like you!  Check it out/donate/buy by clicking here.

Lori Lakin Hutcherson, GBN Founder and Editor-In-Chief (and very happy mommy)

Natural Girls United! Customizes Dolls With Natural Hair Styles

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Who needs a Barbie when you can get a customized doll with your favorite natural hair style? Karen Byrd started the The Natural Girls United! project to showcase the positive view of ethnic beauty.

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From Karen Byrd’s bio:

There have been quite a few studies done that show that African-American boys and girls often think of black dolls as bad and white dolls as good.  Of course, this is not something that the parent is teaching their child. So why are they getting these mixed messages about good and bad skin color, or good and bad hair?  It all has to do with the images they see as they grow up. If a child is constantly looking at images, dolls, television, books and magazines – and only seeing beauty as something or someone with non-ethnic features and long, straight hair – then they are going to assume that this is what beauty is. It is something that has hurt our young people for centuries.  

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The Natural Girls United! come in a variety of styles. There’s dolls in dreadlocks, kinky twists, as well as short-cropped afros. Not to be left out, there’s even a male doll with dreadlocks. The prices range from $45.00-$140.00. For more information on the dolls, check out the site www.naturalgirlsunited.com or follow Natural Girls United on Twitter and Natural Girls United on Facebook.

article by Yesha Callahan via clutchmagonline.com

 

Young Filmmaker Samantha Knowles asks ‘Why Do You Have Black Dolls?’ in her Debut Documentary

Samantha Knowles, 22, surrounded by the subject of her new 25-minute movie.

Sometimes, a doll is not just a doll. It’s a reminder of a child’s beauty and potential.  No one understands that better than 22-year-old director Samantha Knowles, whose experience growing up as an African-American in a predominantly white community was the inspiration for her new documentary, “Why Do You Have Black Dolls?”

The 25-minute debut film about the significance of black dolls has been accepted at five film festivals and a trailer for “Why Do You Have Black Dolls” can be seen on Youtube.com.

“When I was 8, a white friend came over and innocently asked, ‘Why do you have black dolls?” remembers Knowles, who was raised in Warwick, N.Y., and now lives in Prospect Heights. “At the time, I obviously couldn’t really answer the question.”  Fourteen years later, she can.  Knowles, who initially made the film as her honors thesis at Dartmouth College, spent $6,000 and interviewed more than 20 dollmakers and historians, mostly in New York and Philadelphia.

Continue reading “Young Filmmaker Samantha Knowles asks ‘Why Do You Have Black Dolls?’ in her Debut Documentary”

Doc McStuffins Doll Most Sought After Christmas Gift This Year

Photo courtesy of YouTube

Photos courtesy of YouTube

Doc McStuffins, the star of this year’s breakout children’s show, has been officially dubbed the most sought-after gift this holiday season.  The new doll has even unseated Elmo as this year’s must-have holiday toy.  The Disney series was introduced in March and has surpassed Dora the Explorer as the top-rated cable TV show for kids, reports the New York Daily News.

Doc McStuffins is a 6-year-old African-American girl who treats sick toys.

Continue reading “Doc McStuffins Doll Most Sought After Christmas Gift This Year”

Kenya Doll From The 90s Gets Relaunch This November

Kenya Doll
The popular Kenya dolls from the 1990s are back.  Kenya first hit shelves in 1992 and became an overnight success — consistently selling out in stores across the country and ultimately becoming one of the cult favorite toys of the decade. Created to provide girls of color with a toy that reflected their appearance (both their skin tone and features) and could be used as a tool to instill self-esteem, the dolls are arguably just as important today as they were then.  Kenya’s World LLC, the company relaunching the product line, is hoping the new dolls for the next generation of little girls will be as well-received when they hit shelves once again this November. Continue reading “Kenya Doll From The 90s Gets Relaunch This November”