Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Unique Black Dolls Boost Self-Awareness in African American Girls

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Nationwide  Young Black girls can now enjoy playing with a very unique toy that reflects what they look like. A new collection, called Toys Like Me(TM), features cute dolls with brown skin, natural hair, and an adjustable strap that allows children to wear it as a backpack doll. The top of the doll can even be unzipped to store small items in a hidden pouch.

Created by a dadpreneur

Many might assume that the concept was created by a woman, but Toys Like Me was actually created by Dante Lee, an African American dad who noticed that most toys sold by major retailers do not reflect what children with brown skin look like. He was also shocked when he watched a YouTube video proving that children of various races believe that toys that look like Black people are "bad" and "ugly".

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He wanted to create backpack dolls and other products that Black children could resonate with, that is, toys that would build character, self-esteem, and most importantly... self-awareness!

So, after doing some research and meeting with manufacturers overseas, he quickly decided to launch his own line of African American toys.

But wait... there's more

The Toys Like Me collection, so far, also includes brown emoji pillows. "They are basically small pillows with popular emoji expressions... but on African American faces," Lee says. "There are mobile apps that have done this, but we are the first to launch actual emoji toys and accessories like this."

The next product that he is planning to launch will be a backpack doll for young African American boys, and also a line of African American barbie dolls with natural hair styles.

Parents love it

Lee comments, "My goal was to create products that children can culturally relate to. But so far, the biggest fans of the toys have been the parents. Some parents are even buying the toys for themselves." Many parents are apparently buying the toys to place on their beds as collectibles and/or as desktop items at work.

Lee says he eventually wants to also design toys that reflect what Asians and Latinos look like. "It's simply something that you don't see in major toy stores, and I want to fill the void."

For more details and/or to purchase some of the toys, visit

("Toys Like Me" and "Backpack Doll" are registered trademarks owned by Diversity City Media, Inc.)

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Posted by community events coordinator, Nzinga Lonstein Austin, is a prolific blogger who writes on the entertainment industry and issues for people with developmental and physical challenges.

She is presently in high school looking to have a career in video, film, and media. You can see more of her entertainment writing on Lonstein Movies.

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