Black dolls are critical to the development of a healthy self-esteem in young Black girls.
When I was growing up, I remember having two Black dolls. Of the two, one of the dolls was named Buckwheat (probably after the Little Rascals character), and she was my favorite. She was a very dark doll with short hair. In fairness, I think I gave her the hair cut. The other doll I received during the Cabbage Patch Doll craze of the 1980s (see below). She was lighter with no hair (she was a preemie) and she had hazel eyes. In fact, she looks a lot like the Cabbage Patch Doll my MiniMocha plays with now. Ten years and many White Barbies came in between those two Black dolls I had as a child.
Like many parents, I insist on Black dolls for my MiniMocha. I am fortunate to live in area where it’s not difficult to find Black dolls. However, there’s usually not a great deal of diversity between the dolls available on store shelves. By that, I mean that most Black dolls tend to be the same color and have the same silky hair of White dolls. I “kink” the hair of our new dolly friends by cutting it, washing it, and teasing it with a fine tooth comb. But, my home hair treatment doesn’t address the color issue. if you are looking for greater diversity in color and hair texture than what most stores carry, this post will offer some great options. The dolls featured in this post range in price from $19.99-$85.00. Hopefully, you’ll find something that meets your needs.
Let’s dig in.
1. Pretty Brown Girl Meet Laila, a super cute brown doll with curly hair. She sells for $39.99.
Pretty Brown Girl is a more than a doll. She was created by Sheri and Corey Crawley as a response to the negative messages about skin tone and beauty in media. Click here to learn more.
2. LeenGreenBean. Meet Rapunzel, a crocheted doll with locks based on the children’s book “Rapunzel” written by Rachel Isadora. She sells for $85.00. Other dolls are available.
These dolls are made to order and are hand crocheted by Aileen Robinson. Click here to learn more.
3. Natural Girls United. Meet this beautiful doll created by Karen Byrd. This doll has been customized to have a tightly coiled Afro. There are many hair and skin color options for dolls on the site. This doll sells for $79.99.
Natural Girls United started as a special project but has morphed into a business that centers beautiful dolls with hair that have the look, feel and texture of women and girls of color. Click here to learn more.
4. Madame Alexander. Meet these beautiful darker skin dolls. The dolls hair on the right detaches and can be switched out with different “wigs”. Both dolls sell for $59.95. You can purchase a wig pack for $24.95. (Yes, there’s a wig pack.)
The Madame Alexander Doll Company has been making dolls since 1923. Click here to learn more.
Meet Mia, Madame Alexander’s newest doll, based on the character from I’m A Pretty Little Black Girl by Betty Bynum. Mia sells for $49.00.
Click the link for more information on the “I’m a Girl Collection” by Betty Bynum.
5. Kenya. This classic doll was very popular in the 1990s and is making a comeback. She’s the best selling Black doll in history. She sells for $19.99.
Kenya is available from Toys R Us.
6. Classic Cabbage Dolls. These dolls have been around for years. (The doll on the left looks like one of my first dolls.) These dolls sell for $34.99 and $39.99, respectively.
These dolls are available from Target and online from Cabbage Patch Kids. In my research for this post, I also found this Tea Party Toddler, available from Target. She sells for $19.99.
It is difficult to find Black dolls by just walking into a store. Given that, hopefully this list will help guide you as you search for new friends for your MiniMocha. By no means is this an exhaustive list, but I included dolls that are currently available. Follow my Black Dolls Favorites board on Pinterest for even more doll options, including dolls for boys and dolls at lower price points.
For more on the history and the importance of Black dolls, check out: Black is Beautiful: Why Black Dolls Matter by Lisa Hix.