Let’s Talk About the Queens of Africa Dolls

Earlier this week, HuffPost Brazil featured an article on the Queens of Africa dolls that are outselling Barbie in Nigeria.  This is major news, not just for the Nigerian economy–which is one of Africa’s largest– or for the toy franchise that is Mattel (ya’ll better watch your back!).  This is groundbreaking for global beauty standards.  Families of all races can now purchase and play with a line of dolls whose beauty–from their hair to their dress (which is on point!)–is inspired by the Yorubu, Igbo, and Hausa women of Nigeria.  And Black children can see themselves represented in the toys they adore. 

Upon looking at the dolls, though, you’ll notice some striking similarities with Barbie.  For one, the Queens appear to wear the same dress size and possess the superhuman (and unrealistic) slimness of Barbie.  Second, you might give a side-eye to the skin tones of the dolls: most look like the White Barbie we’re used to dipped in shades of tawny, terra-cotta, and golds.  Their eyes are also a range of hazels, grays, and greens.  While all skin tones, eye colors, and body types deserve to be celebrated and represented, I couldn’t help but conclude that despite their clothes and hair, these dolls don’t look like any of the Nigerian women I’ve known throughout my life.

Entrepreneur and Queens of Africa creator, Taofick Okoya, admits that the dolls’ shape is something he hopes to alter in the future, once the brand is better established.  Until then, we’re going to have to take one for the team and celebrate this signigicant step for Black beauty and culture.  The doll isn’t perfect, but now my niece can have an addition to the possibilities of Black womanhood in her arsenal.  And ain’t nothin wrong with that.

What do you think of the Queens?  Will you buy one?


Share This:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *