How Do Black Girls Feel When all the Dolls are White? A Woman Finds a Solution

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A doll helps a child develop her natural mothering and nurturing instinct. It also allows a sneak peep into what the child thinks of herself when she grows up. How, then, will a dark-skinned and curly-haired girl find herself in a fair-skinned doll with blond and straight hair? In 2009, Mattel has started producing Barbie dolls in differently-toned skin. However, straight and sleek hair is still very much the “in” thing in the dolls line-up.

A businesswoman has obviously delved deeper than usual into this thought, because she turned a business out of the idea of curly-haired dolls. Karen Byrd told Huffington Post that her company, Natural Girls United, is a response to moms like her who grew up asking why dolls didn’t have hair like hers. She even suspected that she wasn’t beautiful since her dolls looked so gorgeous and they had straight hair, so unlike her.

Growing up and becoming a mother herself, she realized that times haven’t changed much. Her girls surprisingly had the same limited options that she had in terms of toys and dolls. She fancied that they’d have dolls with black skin shades and naturally curly and wavy hair. It was about making diverse options available and allowing girls to find themselves in their dolls. It was about making children happy and making them feel beautiful as they are.

In 2011, Byrd started her specialized toy business of hand-crafted hairstyling for dolls. Her company stocks on dolls in various skin tones, and modifies the dolls’ originally straight hair into the style that the clients want. The handcrafted hairstyles come in wide-ranging selections, and some of the favourite styles are black Afro, dark curly blonde locks, and long brown curls. Byrd’s business has caught on in popularity and gained a foothold in the market. In an interview with Huffington Post, she said that she is looking to expand to Australia, Africa, and United Kingdom.


  1. Read and think!

    October 13, 2013 at 1:06 am

    The true rain bow is and always be in our community . It existed long before America and uropa. Sisters come in all shapes, colors AND hair texture -always will.


    October 14, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    I would like a Bi-racial barbie for my daughther.

  3. Barbara

    October 14, 2013 at 10:45 pm

    I’ll be adding one of these dolls to the Black dolls I already bought for my little girl.

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