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Society

Toy Creator Responds To Criticism Her Doll Is Too Dark

| by Sheena Vasani

A toy creator is fighting back after someone claimed one of dolls is too dark.

International model Mala Bryan created the African- and Caribbean-inspired collection of dolls after noticing many Barbie dolls lacked Afrocentric features, The Huffington Post reports.

In contrast, Bryan’s Malaville collection features dolls with four different shades of black skin. The four are called Maisha, Mala B, Malina and Mhina.

“I believe that diverse representation is extremely important because children tend to associate their dolls with their playmate,” Bryan explained.

“I made the decision to go ahead with the dolls because I could not find affordable kinky or curly haired black/brown dolls to add to my Barbie collection,” Bryan added. “There are lots of adult doll collectors that would reroot black Barbie dolls with more natural hair but they are usually quite expensive ... I notice that there was a high demand for them so that was one of the main things I noted.”

While many praised Bryan for the collection, some have been critical.

“I think that one doll is a bit too dark,” somebody wrote about the Sudanese doll, Maisha, under a SABC Digital News YouTube segment. "I think its safe to say that's the least best selling ... Keep the other three and create accessories etc. :)”

Another commenter quickly defended the doll.

“I don't believe that a doll can be too dark,” she replied. “Black, in all shades, is indeed beautiful and that's what Mala Bryan is trying to communicate to the world.”

Bryan praised the second commenter for the comment, later posting a screenshot of the interaction on her Instagram account.

“So this comment was made about my #MaishaDoll,” she wrote, adding that Maisha is the second best-selling doll. “I was thinking about just ignoring it but I'm sharing just so that people realize that our super dark people must still be facing a huge problem.”

“Sending lots of love to the beautiful dark skinned people out there, especially to those that share the same complexion as our #MaishaDoll just know that you black is beautiful,” she added.

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