New Line of Multicultural Dolls Help Girls Embrace Their Heritage

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I’m not sure how the Latina community feels about Theresa, but we’ve known for a while that Christie wasn’t cutting it when it came to filling the black Barbie quotient over at Mattel. Even with the “So in Style” line of African American Barbies that reflected the diversity of black women more accurately, creator Stacey McBride- Irby, felt like other ethnic groups were being left out. So, the designer took her talents solo and launched a new line of dolls called Prettie Girls.

The line is apart of One World Doll Project, a company started by Stacey and business partner Trent Daniel that creates multicultural dolls to promote positive self-images and empower young girls of color. So far, there are five girls in the collection: Lena, an African-American; Valencia, a Latina; Kimani, an African; Dahlia, a Middle Easterner; and Alexie, a white doll.

“The One World Doll Project is not only offering African-American dolls, but dolls of color around the world,” Stacey said in a recent CNN interview. “My dolls are going to have real stories, making girls feel more positive in their self-image.”

Stacey intends to take the dolls far beyond little girls’ toy boxes. She and her partner plan to feature the dolls in music videos, on national tours, and in a TV show that will star and be produced by actress Tatyana Ali. The company also created two collector’s dolls to promote President Obama in his 2012 campaign.

When I first saw the dolls I was surprised that their hair was still so straight in texture despite the promotion of diversity in skin tone and other features, but Stacey said she kept the hair that way for a reason.

“When I was a little girl it didn’t bother me that I was playing with a white doll. I enjoyed playing with her, and I learned a lot from the doll play. I feel it’s the adults; I keep getting those comments from mostly women who don’t play with dolls anymore and my main focus on keeping the hair long and straight was that three-year-olds wanted to comb the hair. Their main focus is to brush and comb the hair and they can’t do that with a short curlier style. So, my main focus was to attract the little girls.”

You can check out the full collection of dolls on the One World Dolls website here. What do you think about this idea?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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