I was excited when I heard that a Ramesses II was being made. I had collected the Prince of Egypt dolls based on the animated movie. It was based on the biblical story of Moses. The dolls consisted of Prince Moses, Moses, his wife, Tzipporah and his mother Queen Tiya. Her other son was Ramesses II. He would make a great addition to my collection.
However, I did not get the action figure. He was not the same complexion as the Prince of Egypt dolls and he was out of my price range. I was not willing to pay $300 for him. I am still hoping and waiting for another member to be created from that company.
The next figure to be made was Anubis, the jackal. Waiting to see the third figure.
I was so excited that they were creating Eartha Kitt as Cat Woman. I pre-ordered the figure and was waiting anxiously to add her to my collection. I was going to have actress as well as a superhero in the likeness of the person.
Well, I got the dreaded email from the company. They informed me that my pre-order was cancelled because the action figure was no longer going to be created.
I was hesitant to buy because I did not like the glass eyes on and her head was a little bigger than I wanted. I had seen this doll for the last several years at Toy Fair and her look soften a bit from the first doll. They were offering a discount on the doll and I decided to buy because I like the theme, Saving the Planet and dolls were made from made from recyclable materials.
Her name is Yana. She is the Protector of the Oceans. She is from the Dominican Republic. "She is a born leader and very kindhearted person. I always have enjoyed waling around the beach and collecting samples of different shells to study. I know about every fish out there in the deep blue sea and I am fascinated by other creatures that live underwater." I rescued my dolphin friend Serena, from a tangled fishing line and that is what made me interested in becoming an eco-warrior. Now I get to help protect all of the sea creatures from overfishing , pollution and more!
She reminds me of the Mattel dolls that were created called "Diva Starz"
Mattel has created a series of dolls, Claudette and Madame L that pays tribute to the Harlem Renaissance Era.
The "Harlem Renaissance, of the New Negro Movement as it was called, was on of the richest and most complex artistic eras in American History. Characterized by an explosive energy, the artistic, literary, and philosophical movements taking place among African Americans during the 1920"s took Harlem as a center. The neighbor hood, consisting of some two square miles in Manhattan, was both a literal and metaphoric African American national capital, the hub of political, social, creative and intellectual activities. The unprecedented numbers of men and women who migrated to Harlem from all over the country in the first decades of the twentieth century included artists and writers, musicians and dancers, intellectuals and activists."*
"Talent began to overflow within this newfound culture of the black community in Harlem, as prominent figures such as Langston Hughes, Duke Ellington and Billie Holiday, Zora Neil Hurston, Ella Fitzgerald, and Bessie Smith pushed art to its limit as a form of expression and representation."**
Celebrate the Achievements of Women during this month
Celebrating Women behind the Scenes in Hollywood. They have created and directed big and small screens television shows and movies. Two that are featured today are Ava DuVernay and Chris Nee.
Ava DuVernay- " As an African American women who was the first to win Best Director at Sundance, the first to be nominated for a Golden Globe for directing and the second invited to join the prestigious director's branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences." * She created and/or directed Queen Sugar, Selma, 13th, and I Will Follow to name a few.
Chris Nee- is a Peabody Award and Humanitas Prize-winning Irish-American Children's television screen writer and producer. She created "Doc McStuffins- a story about an African American girl who is a doctor to the stuff animals that need medical care. She "created the character for her sonn who had asthma. But I made the character an African American girl. It never occured to me that it wouldn't resonate with him. Truthfully, I'm proud of the choice- it was a bold one to make".** The series debut in 2012.
*Essence March 2017
** Kidscreen February/March 2017
A look at two companies and their dolls that brought different themes to their dolls.
In 2005, YNU Group Inc. created the Mixis dolls. The company introduced multicultural dolls. The Mixis Brand was developed to offer dolls for the multi-racial and diverse market. Their mission was to celebrate the collective strengths, the blended beauty and diverse perspectives, cultures and traditions of individuals of a multi-racial heritage. They created four dolls. Two of them are Emerald Okada (Black American/Native American/Japanese) and Opal Nkrumah (Ghanian and British). I was excited about Mixis and hoping that more dolls would be produced. No male dolls.
Dasia was created in 1995 by the Big Beautiful Dolls. The company was founded by two African American Women, Georgette Taylor and Audrey Bell-Kearney. She was the first full -figure fashion doll. She came with the one dress and cape. It was fun trying to find clothes to fit her size. Some of the Manhattan Doll Co clothes could fit her. At one point the toy store FAO Schwartz was selling individual pieces of clothing and some of the clothes could fit. See future post.
These dolls were a higher price than other mass produced fashion dolls.The price may have prevented them from growing to a wider audience.
I am celebrating some doll makers that were at the Atlanta doll show this weekend. I love crochet and will show you some of the crochet dolls that appeared at the doll show.
Some of the Black Artists were: Queenhealer, Regina Dale, Catherine Girls by Jennifer Washington, Chocolate Cherri Bomb Art, Crochet by Rhea, Hands of Blessings by Paula Course, The Christian Crochet Addict, My kinda Thing by Aniqua Wilkerson.
Today I show you new Kenya that came back in 2012. Finally I have a 12.5 fashion doll Kenya. I waited almost 20 years for her. She did not disappoint. Kenya came with a little sister and friends.
Kenya came back and all grown up. Fashion Kenya is all about fashion, fun, friend and music.
Kenya loves music and is the lead singer in the rock star madness band. The group included her boyfriend TJ, Denise, Dwayne. I like the fact that Dwayne and TJ had different features.
In 1995, Tyco created a Kenya line to celebrate Kenya's family reunion. In this series, she introduced her 6 Little African Princesses Cousins. They were elegant in their beautiful gowns of their princess ancestors. Kenya never appeared in this size. The cousins were about 6 inches tall. Here are four of them.
The Kenya doll was created in 1992 by Tyco. The doll was to provide kids of color with a doll that reflected their appearance in skin color and features. She also came dress in Kente cloth and was the ultimate African American hairstyling doll. The theme was: "Growing Up Proud, Just like me."
I did not purchase the Kenya doll since she was bigger than my fashion dolls. However, I was so happy when they created her big sister Simone. They never made a Kenya doll that would be the size of this fashion doll. She came in 3 different skin tones.
In 1985, Yvonne Rubie introduced a doll called Huggy Bean. This was the first Black character doll to be mass produced. Huggy Bean was created to show African American children positive images and that they are cute in the way they look.
The company was called Golden Ribbon Playthings. She created a limited edition fashion doll called Balia Elegance. Her hair was braided in West Africa with Senegal twists and beads. Her dress is made using Kente cloth.
After a few years Stacey McBride-Irby left Mattel to start One World Dolls. In 2013, she created the Prettiest Girls dolls. It was originally 4 dolls in the group that represented different multicultural background.
The dolls had personal stories and hobbies and goals and inspirations.
Dahlia from New Delhi, India; Valencia from Mexico, City Mexico; Kumasi from Accra, Ghana, Lena from Charlotte, North Carolina.
"Kimani is beautiful on the inside and out. The best friend anyone could ever have. You can trust Kimani with your ultimate secret. When it comes to needing the perfect outfit, to the right jewelry or for any fashion tip, Kimani is the go-to-girl. Nothing can shake Kimani from experiencing joy. She is a spit-fire, energetic free-spirit & marches to the beat of her own drum. Artistic and creative in nature, Kimani loves the arts and dreams of red carpet moments. Watch for her name in lights!".
"Lena is fun, fresh, confident, exciting and has made being smart cool! Her friends call her "The Wiz Kid" because whatever she puts her mind to, she will come out on top! A straight A student, spelling bee champ, and top fundraiser on the cheerleading squad, Lena always finds time to help her friends with their homework & class projects. Setting goals is key, next move: Class President. An up and coming entrepreneur, you better believe the next big invention will be Lena's.
"You can always count on Dahlia for a good, belly aching laugh! With an energy that is electric, Dahlia is a natural born comedian, and loves being the center-of-attention. With her brilliant mind and quick-wit, she is loved by all, especially by her cute puppy, Chance, that she rescued. Through her humorous and caring spirit, she is good at encouraging her friends to volunteer their time, skills & allowance money to give back to their communities. Although she is gentle and caring in nature, she is a beast when it comes to saving the planet! Are you recycling?
"Bold & daring, loving life is Valencia's claim to fame! As a part of her passion for life, Valencia is all about working out and eating right! The athletic one is always focused on being her best self. Whenever you are around Valencia, be ready to move! She's a party all by herself! To be around her is so much fun because she is always moving and grooving to the hottest song, as a way to stay fit. She loves watching cooking shows to test her healthy "meals skills" on her friends. With her fun way of cooking healthy foods along with her exciting exercise tips, you can almost smell her own show coming to a network near you!".
In. 2009, African American designer Stacey McBride-Irby created the So In Style dolls for Mattel. These dolls were unique in that it was a line of African American dolls that had there own storyline separate from the Barbie. The dolls came in various skin tones and hairstyles to represent African Americans. The leader of the group was Grace she was friends with Barbie but was moving from California to Chicago. She met some new friends, Kara, Trichelle, and Chandra. Grace had a boyfriend Daren.
After a few years Stacey McBride-Irby left Mattel to start her own doll company. See tomorrow's post.
Shindana created several stars in the toy line. The other one that they created was Florence from the Jeffersons. This was a 1970's show that was about a dry cleaner that became wealthy and moved on up the East Side in Manhattan. Florence played by Marla Gibbs was the maid. In the 1980's, she appeared on her own television show, 227. It was about people who lived in the same building and their lives. She was married with a husband and daughter.
The Shindana had created two sports stars during the time. They were OJ Simpson and Dr. J. I was finally able to purchase the Dr. J action figure 2 years ago at a reasonable price. The downside was that the box was not in great shape and he did not stay in the box.
Julius Erving nicknamed, Dr. J played basketball from 1971 to 1987. He retired from the Philadelphia 76ers. He is my favorite basketball player. I wish that they would do a series of old timers in 12". I can hope.
*Shindana was created in 1968 and was one of the first manufacturer of Black Dolls. The company closed in 1983. The company was created "in the aftermath of the Watts Riots in Los Angeles. It was founded as a division of Operation Bootstrap, Inc. the nonprofit blak community self-help organization in south central Los Angeles. The founders were Lou Sith and Robert Hall." The name is Swahili and means competitor. "The idea for manufacturing black dolls and games is rooted in Operation Bootstrap's motto, 'Learn, Baby, Learn!'"*
The fashion doll that they created was Wanda. She came in two sizes 9" and 11.5 inches.
The smaller version was called Wanda The Career Girl.
The 11.5 inches came as Disco Wanda. She represented the dance craze during that time and was ready to party at the best clubs in town.
Wanda is in the picture with J.J Evans from Good Times played by Jimmy Walker in the 70"s.
Cammie Goes to College was created College Bound Concepts.
It was endorsed by the United Negro College Fund.
The boxed stated: "A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste"
"What will your little girl be when she grows up? Anything She wants to be!
Cammie Goes to College will be a daily reminder of what is possible when she learns that the work of turning dreams into goals can be fun! Give your little girl a Cammie doll today.
Cammie is a beautifully crafted Afeican American doll. She comes complete with two outfits and a guide for parents offereing step- by-step recommendations for raising little girls into independent, productive women. Cammie is the perfect role model.
She is wearing a crochet outfit and not her original outfit.
The faces of Candi Girls changed when Helena Hamilton partnered with Mikelman to change the design of the face. At the time, Mikelman was a known collector and makeover artist of Barbie and fashion dolls. The makeup of the doll's face changed to be more glamourous and fashionable.
This is the original Candi Girl
This is the original Candi Girl and the Mikelman Candi Girl
After Mikelman left Hamilton Designs, he created his own fashion dolls. The female, Charice look close to Candi Girl and Dominic looked like Jordan from Integrity Toys.