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Queens of Africa have been a popular doll maker amongst young Nigerian girls. But in 2014, they outsold Mattel, the makers of Barbie.
By
Shami Sivasubramanian

27 May 2016 - 10:55 AM  UPDATED 27 May 2016 - 10:55 AM

As issues of societal whitewashing, narrow-minded beauty standards, and lack of diversity seem to be at the forefront of most issues in popular culture, one doll-manufacturing brand has established a long-standing tradition of inclusion: Queens of Africa Nigerian and African Dolls.

The Nigerian doll makers specialise in Barbie-like dolls that reflect the African race. But what sets them further apart is how they aren't just another 'black girl doll', but embrace the aesthetic diversity within the black community, which is typically umbrella'd under one generic look.

These includes dolls with different hair textures (natural or braided), different skin tones (some lighter, some darker), and with classically-African features of wide set noses and full lips. 

Queens of Africa also sell additional outfits for their dolls, which include a range of Western and traditional African clothing items.

It's about "empowering the African girl child," founder of Queen of Africa, Taofick Okoya said.

Queen of Africa was founded back in 2007, and have since been a popular doll amongst young Nigerian girls. In 2014, it even outsold Mattel, the makers of Barbie.

And last month, Okoya brought the successful doll to the US as part of a 'Coming to America' tour. The tour has been to Atlanta and will continue to make stops in New York and Chicago until July's end.

But Queens of Africa aren't the first company to embrace a more inclusive idea of beauty. 

Other brands, including Mattel have recently expanded their Barbie doll lines to include a range of diverse looks.

 

Hopefully, these dolls will lead the children to be raised on them to have more liberal views of beauty, identity, and diversity.

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