The African Dolls That Outsold Barbie

It’s no secret that the world we live in mainly caters to those with Eurocentric features. From commercials to popular television shows, light skin and free flowing hair has always been the epitome of beauty. Most kinky haired girls today would rather spend hundreds of hard earned money on hair that doesn’t represent who they are as a people. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing but one does wonder what the black race would’ve been like if they were taught to love their features from a young age.

Almost 10 years ago, Nigerian businessman, Taofick Okoya created a line of African dolls after he couldn’t find a black doll for his niece. He named the dolls ‘Queens Of Africa’ and another line afterwards called ‘Naija Princesses’. The 43-year-old  sells between 6,000 and 9,000 ‘Queens of Africa’ and ‘Naijia Princesses’ a month in Nigeria, and claims to have up to 15 per cent of the country’s toy market. When black people from foreign countries got wind of the dolls, the demand for black Barbie dolls increased significantly.

In 2015, Okoya told ELLE magazine, “I spent about two years campaigning on the importance and benefits of dolls in the African likeness.

“During that process, I realised greater social issues such as low self esteem, which led to the passion to make a change in the coming generation. It’s been a tough journey but one I have enjoyed.”

The Queens of Africa have outsold Barbie on multiple occasions since, causing the sales of American manufacturer Mattel to fall by 15% in 2014. We have faith that black people everywhere are starting to get the message that they’re features are every bit as good as that of those of their Eurocentric counterparts.


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