I never imagined that my love of dolls and puppet shows would lead me to become a puppet builder for the Jim Henson Muppet Workshop and a Daytime Emmy® recipient for my contributions to CTW Sesame Street®. The skills I honed as a child when dressing up my dolls have proven to be the foundation for designing iconic dolls such as the Princess Diana Birthday Commemorative doll for the Madame Alexander Doll Company, as well as many other beloved collectible dolls.
However, I faced opposition when it came to creating racially inclusive dolls and puppets. Despite my intuition that there was a market for black and brown dolls, convincing others to expand their doll offerings was challenging. It was a personal experience that spurred me into action – shopping with a young family member who insisted on having a white action figure because they believed it was “better” than the identical black one. This, coupled with online petitions from parents and doll collectors requesting manufacturers to diversify their doll offerings, highlighted the need for more representation in the toy industry.
The social unrest surrounding racial injustice and the murder of George Floyd further strengthened my resolve. Thus, I created Black Dolls Matter®, a brand initiative aimed at ensuring that black and brown dolls are available for all. Our website, products, club, social media pages, and events are dedicated to positively impacting how African Americans see themselves, their community, and their perception of their community.
Black Dolls Matter® is not only about providing representation in the toy industry. It is also about promoting a healthy self-image and instilling a sense of pride in African American children. Our goal is to spark positive change in how children of color are viewed and treated in society. We hope that through our efforts, we can help create a more inclusive world where all children can feel seen and valued.