If there is no demand for black dolls, why does my collection and the collection of several fellow black-doll enthusiasts exceed numbers in the 3 to 4 digits? Are we using our ever-decreasing disposable income on three-dimensional inanimate objects that have no meaning to us? Personally, I am not.
I love black dolls and would enjoy being recognized as an avid black-doll enthusiast by the people who create them. I become incensed and frustrated when I hear statements like:
"Black dolls don't sell."
"I don't see color when creating my dolls." (This statement was from an artist who usually only creates non-black dolls--well, I guess she doesn't see color.)
"Black dolls are more expensive to make."
"It is difficult to find the right color brown for my medium."
"We can't get the color right."
To artists and manufacturers who have used any one of the above excuses why black dolls are not incorporated into your lines, know this:
Excuses only benefit those who make them.
The right types of black dolls are in high demand.
Black-doll collectors do exist; we are not invisible!
In my book, Black Dolls a Comprehensive Guide to Celebrating, Collecting, and Experiencing the Passion, I referenced the frustration that black-doll collecting sometimes causes. The chore of finding appealing black dolls and the above types of excuses are the two main causes of this frustration. On page 10, I wrote the following:
Cures to collectors' frustration woes do exist. Certainly doll manufacturers and artists realize that dolls represent people and are used as playthings and cherished collectibles by people of all ethnicities. With this certainty, the need for adequate doll representation for everyone is apparent. The inclusion of black dolls in all doll lines will allow artists and manufacturers to service the entire doll market. Excluding black dolls results in the loss of potential business revenue from black-doll collectors and from parents who desire to expose their children to dolls reflective of their image.
Based in their familiarity, inspiration, and immediate association with fellow African Americans, AA doll artists most assuredly can supply the demand for creating beautiful black dolls. There are many talented AA doll artists whose dolls "live" in obscurity because of the artists' anonymity...Doll manufacturers should incorporate the talents of black doll artists. Manufacturers and mainstream doll artists can and should solicit opinions from black-doll collectors via focus groups and surveys. By any means necessary, they should think inclusion not exclusion.