Popular toy manufacturer brings out first African-American doll celebrating diversity, strength

The new doll for 2017 is a poet and dancer named Gabriela McBride, who used the two art forms to overcome stuttering.

By: Lifestyle Desk | Kolkata | Published:January 7, 2017 8:39 pm
toys, dolls, inspiring dolls, real life icon dolls, american girl, american girl african dolls, amercian girl 2017 doll, Gabriela McBride, Gabriela McBride doll, lifestyle news, indian express, latest news Gabriela is described as a “true creative talent” who uses poetry to help “break down barriers” and overcome her “personal challenge” of stuttering. (Source: American Girl/ Twitter)

When it comes to choosing a gift for kids, parents and elderly often wonder what might be a suitable and appropriate present. From birthdays to New Year gifts—books, toys, and games that dominate our choices have often layered problems that often go unnoticed. For instance, when you decide to gift your little girl a doll, invariably the first option that comes to your mind is a Barbie. And debates surrounding the dolls are endless and cannot be ignored. From absurd body proportions to lavish make-up and of course the fair skin colour—there are issues that engrave incorrect ideas in young mind.

Last year, in an effort to fight such stereotypes, we saw many artistes who unpainted dolls, gave them a human touch and tried to create a positive impact by making them inspired by real-life icons and legends. In India, there was a doll inspired from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But it’s always a victory feat when renowned brands do the same.

Read | From Albert Einstein to Dalai Lama: This Italian artiste creates dolls to inspire and educate kids

Famous doll manufacturer, American Girl, gave the world to celebrate 2017 with a great news. The company launched their very first African-American Girl of the Year doll. The popular toy maker has been releasing the limited edition ‘Girl of the Year’ dolls for the last 15 years, inspired by real-life heroes and icons but seldom have they put out dolls that were not white.

Read | A racially-inclusive doll line aims to celebrate boyhood of colour

The new doll for 2017 is a poet and dancer named Gabriela McBride, who used the two art forms to overcome stuttering. In a press release, Gabriela is described as a “true creative talent” who uses poetry to help “break down barriers” and overcome her “personal challenge” of stuttering. The 18-inch doll has brown eyes, curly dark brown hair and sports no make-up.

The Gabriela Collection also includes several performance-inspired outfits, accessories and three-book series chronicling her journey, published by Scholastic and written by Teresa E. Harris. Besides, the company is also collaborating with Scholastic to release a curriculum program, ‘Express Yourself’, to teach poetry to children.

The doll’s release is also very special as for the first time the company has three black dolls on offer at the same time. Along with Gabriela, there is Melody and Addy, a Civil Rights-era doll signifying a former slave.

Interestingly, the brand also offers a ‘Truly Me’ collection, which allows young girls to choose from a range of skin colors to create toys that they can relate to and like.