There’s a Nigerian version of the Barbie doll, and it’s currently poised to take the United States by storm.
Created by Nigerian entrepreneur Taofick Okoya in 2007, the toy line features African dolls with different hair textures and skin tones ranging from light to dark. And the best part? They’re all rocking the latest in contemporary African fashions, with vibrant wax print patterned dresses and pants.
The “Queens of Africa” doll line is already popular in Nigeria and throughout the African continent — in 2014 the dolls outsold Mattel in the Nigerian market. Now, Okyoya has announced that in addition to meeting with potential American distributors, he will be taking the dolls on a “Coming to America” tour throughout the United States between May and July, with stops in Atlanta, New York, and Chicago scheduled.
Over the last several years, the issue of diversity in children’s dolls has become a bigger conversation, with dolls like the Angelica doll and Positively Perfect dolls gaining popularity online. Even Mattel has taken notice, it launched an all new line of Barbie dolls with more diverse body-types and skin tones in January.
According to Forbes, Okoya said he entered the world of doll-making after his young daughter expressed to him the desire to be white. The conception of the dolls, therefore, is to celebrate African beauty with the following motto: “Empowering the African girl child.”
And the Queens of Africa line isn’t stopping just at dolls. Okoya and his team have also added an educational book series under the brand that teaches self-confidence and cultural pride.
Hopefully, the dolls will be on toy store shelves in America and across the world soon. Until then, they can be purchased via Amazon.
Watch a video of Taofick Okoya discussing the “Queens of Africa” dolls below.