Thursday, January 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Big Beautiful Dolls Dasia

Dasia by Big Beautiful Dolls, Inc., 2000; designed by Audrey Bell and Georgette Taylor, is from the first line of full-figured 12-inch fashion dolls.  The above image is from my first book, The Definitive Guide to Collecting Black Dolls.

My memory is fuzzy on how I initially met Georgette Taylor, Vice-President and Co-Founder of Big Beautiful Dolls, Inc., but it is clear that her Dasia doll, shown above, is what brought us together over a dozen years ago.

The text from the image above provides Dasia's attributes. 
Dasia - Big Beautiful Dolls, Inc., 2000, is from the first line of 12in (30.48cm) full-figured fashion dolls created by two AA female entrepreneurs, Audrey Bell and Georgette Taylor.  Dasia wears a black velour evening gown accented by a sheer black nylon wrap trimmed with black marabou feathers; black nylon hose and black faux leather high-heel shoes, iridescent ear studs and matching necklace.  Black rooted hair is styled in an upswept style; painted brown eyes.  Dasia was nominated for the 2002 Dolls Award of Excellence.

Except for complexion, Dawn (Caucasian) and Dena (Latina) share the same head sculpt and body as Dasia -- Photograph courtesy of Georgette Taylor.

Part of a trio, the other dolls in the Big and Beautiful Dolls, Inc. line were Dawn (Caucasian) and Dena (Latina).  As the first full-figured 12-inch dolls, Dasia and companions offered a more realistic representation of most adult females' bodies.  

Silkstone Barbie (right) is giving Dasia some serious side eye. 

After featuring Dasia in the fashion doll chapter of my first book, The Definitive Guide to Collecting Black Dolls (2003), Georgette and I participated in or attended doll events at the African American Museum in Dallas and met up again at the Modern Doll Collectors Convention held here in June 2004.   Several years ago, she invited me to do a doll display and discussion at a local library where she was program director.  Photos (low residue from a decade ago) taken at some of these events we attended and/or participated in are shown below:

Georgette Taylor and I were at the African American Museum, March 2004, Dallas, Texas for Tea at Three, "Black Doll History" lecture by Barbara Whiteman, curator Philadelphia Doll Museum
Most of our communication prior to March 2004 had been by email.  Georgette and I met in person for the first time at Barbara Whiteman's "Black Doll History" lecture at the African American Museum on March 18, 2004.  Whiteman conducted a slideshow presentation and also discussed a few physical dolls.  Dasia was one of these.  About Dasia, Whiteman commented, "...this doll broke the stereotypical thin-fashion doll mold and is a better representation of the female population."
Georgette Taylor displays her Big Beautiful Dolls at the Sugar 'N Spice Final Fling at the African American Museum, August 28, 2004.

Dasia brought us together again in August 2004 at the Sugar 'N Spice Final Fling at the African American Museum.  This "fling" was the conclusion of a several-month traveling exhibit of dolls from the collection of Regenia Perry, Ph.D., an art historian and African American folk art collector.  Georgette and I both had a doll display prior to a round table discussion that we participated in with Dr. Perry and Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is also a doll collector.  

Closer look at Taylor's display at the AA Museum in August 2004

Round Table Doll Discussion at AA Museum, August  28, 2004, with panel members L-R:  Commissioner John Wiley Price with what he identified as his "Daddy Long Legs doll by Mattel"; me with Ideal's 1951 Saralee, Dr. Regenia Perry, and Georgette Taylor with Dasia.

During the time I was actively exhibiting dolls throughout the city, Dasia usually accompanied me.  She has been featured in my "Evolution of Black Dolls From Mammies to Models" exhibit and in others.

Bell and Taylor's dolls Dasia, Dawn, and Dena made history as the first of a kind in their category and scale.  For additional information about Big Beautiful Dolls, Inc., and more images of Dena and Dawn, read Roville's Blog post dated April 28, 2012.

My recent reconnection with Georgette Taylor, is what prompted this post.  As a result,Taylor will be featured on this blog soon to share some exciting news.  So please stay tuned!


Update 12/28/2015
The co-founder of Big Beautiful Dolls, Inc., Georgette Taylor, will bring the head sculpt and full-figure body style the BBDs back to the market under the newly formed company:  I Am Beautiful Doll Company.  The first doll's name is Nikia. For additional information, visit their website.

Georgette Taylor is currently taking preorders for new nude dolls of the original Dasia, Dena, and Dawn.  For more information and/or to preorder, follow the link: 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Limited Edition Cynthia Bailey Collectors Doll in the House!

Limited Edition Cynthia Bailey Prettie Girls! Collectors Doll -- she is gorgeous!

The Cynthia Bailey Collectors Doll is here and more lovely than I had imagined, which is always a good thing.  I am as impressed with the box as I am with the doll.  I took several initial photos shown below.
The front of box shows a tonal image of the head and torso of the doll.
The inside flap defines Prettie Girls! and the One World Prettie (OWP) concept. The Cynthia doll's fashion is described in the final paragraph.

The lovely, articulated (underneath breasts, at elbows, wrists, and knees), 12-inch Cynthia Bailey doll is nicely presented inside the box with black doll stand included.  Her huge Afro hairstyle is well done with soft fibers. 

This lovely image of supermodel, actress, entrepreneur Cynthia Bailey is underneath the plastic liner that holds the doll in place.
The back of the box is as impressive as the front, featuring a tonal headshot of the doll.  A cute image of the doll's designer, Stacey McBride-Irby, is in the lower right corner.
The text from the back of the box contains Ms. Bailey's biography:

Supermodel Cynthia Bailey resides in Atlanta with her 13-year-old daughter, Noelle, and her husband Peter. The Alabama-born beauty moved to New York City 25 years ago to pursue her dream of modeling.  Cynthia's biggest career moment was when she beat out Naomi Campbell for a co-starring role opposite Sandra Berhardt in her film, WITHOUT YOU I'M NOTHING.  From there she was always on call for her friend and super-star film director Brett Ratner for all of his early movies & music videos.  Mr. Bill Cosby [cast] this southern beauty for 2 episodes of THE COSBY SHOW, and other television appearances that include NY UNDERCOVER, SOUL TRAIN guest model host, and host spots on BET.

Cynthia's commercials include [Macy's], Levis, Mercedes Benz and many more.  In addition to her "housewife" duties, Cynthia can be seen regularly on Good Morning America serving as a correspondent.  She also operates as CEO of The Bailey Agency School of Fashion and is creator of the Miss Renaissance Pageant and the Cynthia Bailey Model Search.

My doll is documented as follows in my doll inventory Excel spreadsheet:
Month-Year of Purchase Manufacturer/Artist/Year Made Name Description Price
January One World Doll Project, 2013 Limited Edition Cynthia Bailey Prettie Girls! Collectors Doll 12-inch fashion doll designed by Stacey McBride-Irby (former Mattel designer) inspired by former supermodel/model agency owner Cynthia Bailey; black Afro, brown painted eyes; wears white tank with The Bailey Agency School of Fashion logo on front; black faux leather jacket, black and shimmery silver striped shorts, black high-heel shoes, gold cuff bracelet, gold hoop earrings, has black patent-leather purse with gold "chain" strap.  Doll is not a portrait of Cynthia Bailey; but was inspired by her.   Signed, #'d, COA enclosed in blue stock folder arrived later; has black doll stand. $69.95
Scan of certificate of authenticity and OWDP Lifetime Collectors pin

Her impressive signed, numbered, certificate of authenticity arrived under separate cover accompanied by a One World Doll Project Lifetime Collectors Club pin, shown above.  

Still attached to the plastic liner, Cynthia hopes to be released soon
I have not removed the doll from the box liner and am not sure I will.  I want to, but I want to preserve her in her manufactured state a while longer.  (It's a collector's thing that only a doll collector would understand.)


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Her Shining Star Doll Encouraged Self-Esteem, Cultural Awareness, and Filled a Void

Photo from page 323 of Black Dolls an Identification and Value Guide Book II by Myla Perkins needs caption corrections:  This circa 1988 doll, Shining Star, was manufactured by Vous Estes Tres Belle. which means "You Are Very Beautiful"; the doll is approximately 25 inches tall; the clothing it wears is not original.
Shining Star, shown above, as featured in Black Dolls an Identification and Value Guide Book II by Myla Perkins (Collector Books, 1995), has been on my wish list since first reading a late 1980s newspaper article that featured the doll and the woman who created it, Ms. Vousette Miller.  The article was sent to me by a fellow doll enthusiast sometime during the early-to-mid 1990s.  I had it stored with other doll articles.  Unfortunately, a recent attempt to locate the article was as unsuccessful as my attempt to locate this elusive doll.  Shining Star's elusiveness is proof that those who might still own the doll, are unwilling to part with it.

My 20-something-year desire to own Shining Star resurfaced earlier this month after an in-box Facebook message from a woman who was the lucky owner of one as a child.  She could not remember the doll's name but requested my assistance in helping her find it based on description alone.  A portion of her message proved this unique doll had helped nurture a cultural awareness and perhaps planted some of her first seeds of self-esteem.   

Hello! I'm so hoping you can help me! When my sister and I were little girls, our aunt got us each a very special Black doll. She was about 12-14 inches tall, long hair, very pretty face. She came with three little discs: a red one, a blue one and I can't remember the color of the third. She had an opening in her back where the discs were inserted and played, which I've recently learned may have been called a "minifon" (but I can't be sure of that). When the discs were inserted, she would recite poems about Black women in history. Each disc had a different poem. This doll was my introduction to women like Mary Church Terrell, Mary McLeod Bethune and Ida B. Wells. I've Googled everything I can think to Google. I've even contacted the proprietors of the National Black Doll Museum. Does any of this sound familiar to you?
I was determined to help this young woman identify the doll.  The fact that the doll "talked" narrowed things down a bit, but I was misled initially by the approximate height she provided.  After sending her a link to another talking doll, which was a best guess effort, I thought about Shining Star.  Even though Shining Star far exceeds 12-14 inches, I realized this woman was working from her childhood memory and her height estimation for the doll could be off.    I also knew if the doll had introduced her to women such as Mary Church Terrell, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Ida B. Wells, the creator of the doll had to have been African American.  This was not the case for the black talking doll by Colombo Doll Company, Inc. and its white counterparts.

I took a chance and sent her the image from Perkins' book (shown above).  After viewing the picture, she wrote:

The dress is throwing me off as I don't remember it looking like that. BUT her face, hair and hands look like my doll! Such a pretty face! And the records tied to her arm are what the discs looked like! Thank you so much!

Mystery solved.  Before our in-box messaging concluded, I admitted that I, too, desire to own Shining Star  and hoped we both found her, but my hope is that she finds her first.


Shining Star remained on my mind for a couple of days because I could not locate the newspaper article I sought to find.   I looked through my article files several times to no avail. I did find another article, from July 25, 1988, "Wishing upon a Shining Star" by Elisabeth Wurtzel, a then staff writer for the Dallas Morning News (DMN).  The only information I found on the Internet about Shining Star was her book of poems, Color Me Beautiful, Color Me Black, written by Vousette Miller, the doll's creator.

One thing led to another and I had the opportunity to speak to Ms. Miller by phone. We spoke for nearly a half hour about Shining Star, what prompted her to have the doll made, the void Shining Star filled in her life, and how well the doll-buying community received it.  I shared with her that I had wanted Shining Star for over 20 years and that I had received the in-box message from a woman who had owned the doll as a child who now desires a replacement.

During our conversation Ms. Miller said she did not own black dolls as a child.  She added that, as a child, she had never seen a black doll that looked like her, which is the reason she designed Shining Star.  She is a true example of the statement:  If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself.  "Right" can be substituted with "by your specifications."  Word of mouth was the major method in Shining Star's success as it filled Ms. Miller's void and the void experienced by countless children who also craved dolls that were not just white dolls colored Hershey brown.  We both concurred that African Americans comprise a wide color spectrum that dolls during the 1980s and prior did not portray. 

In the Dallas Morning News article, referenced above, Ms. Miller is quoted to say that through the use of  discs and accompanying book, Shining Star is:

...a doll that would tell me things that I want to hear, tell me things that I like, tell me how wonderful I am.

The approximately 25-inch Shining Star is described in the 1988 DMN article as, "a black doll with Negroid features, long curly hair, caramel colored skin and a satin and lace dress.  When you push Shining Star's battery-operated button, her motor mouth spouts out inspirational poems of black pride written by Ms. Miller."

As a result of Shining Star's popularity, the doll sold out quickly.  Ms. Miller does not have additional quantities to sell.  When asked whether or not she plans to reproduce the doll, she indicated she has considered it because several others have recently made this request.  I asked her to keep me posted if she does because I know two very interested customers and I am sure there are a host of others. I am hoping our conversation will encourage her to reproduce the doll even if it is a small production. 

After my conversation with Ms. Miller, I emailed her the photo from Perkins' book and she emailed two articles to me that feature Shining Star.  (Neither article was the one I could not locate in my files, but I was thrilled to receive them.)  After receiving the Perkins' book image and reading the caption that indicates the doll is "all original," Ms. Miller sent an email reply to inform the doll in Perkins' book was redressed.  Photos of the articles she shared with me are shown below:

The lovely Ms. Miller is surrounded by several Shining Star dolls that resemble her.  What a delightful way to fill a void and instill self-esteem in children in the process.  (From The Washington Post, Thursday, March 23, 1989, courtesy of Vousette Miller)

A continuation of the above Washington Post article is shown below:

And finally, from a late-1980s Playthings magazine, Ms. Miller shared:

Princess Shining Star (another version of the original doll) was featured in a late-1980s Playthings magazine.  The photo caption reads:  From Shining Star Inc., Princess Shining Star recites poetry to teach modern day kids about such contemporary concerns as prejudice, learning to get along with parents, the importance of avoiding drugs and how to deal with strangers.  (Article courtesy of Vousette Miller.)
Update Added 10/25/2015
Author, Judith Izen, of Dolls of Our Childhood, shared the following brochure of Princess Shining Star that she picked up at Toy Fair during the 1980s where the doll was introduced to the market.

Princess Shining Star dolls and separately sold outfits are shown.  The nightgown, party dress, and school dress were sold separately.  Princess Shining Star was sold in the red dress and cape. Brochure courtesy of Judith Izen.


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Queens of Africa Dolls Available to US Buyers

Queens of Africa dolls photo courtesy of QoA Facebook administrator

My first blog on the Queens of Africa dolls was written on July 18, 2012.  I wrote two followups, one on July 23, 2012, and the other on August 3, 2012.  At the time of these posts, the dolls were not available to US customers.  After reading a recent online article, I contacted the company's Facebook administrator for ordering information and also asked permission to use a photo from their Facebook photo album as my Facebook cover photo.  Permission to use the photo was granted and US shipping information was promised. 

The dolls are now available via the company's United Kingdom agent, who is offering them in separate listings in an eBay store with worldwide shipping.  Combined shipping is available.

As a refresher for those who did not read my previous posts, the three original dolls are Nneka (medium complexion), Azeezah (dark), and Wuraola (light).  According to the most recent article, referenced, above, in addition to the head sculpt used for the three original dolls shown above, there is another head sculpt as well.  The article also states "the dolls represent Nigeria’s three largest ethnic groups – Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba." 

Even though I have not seen the dolls in person, I have ordered the original trio for their historical significance.  I find it admirable that Mr. Taofick Okoya, the creator of the dolls, has gone through such great lengths to create dolls to help empower his nieces and other children of African descent "to be confident and mature ethically. The dolls... [books and other] materials are designed... to subconsciously promote African heritage."  I love this!

Learn more about the dolls and the company's mission, at the Queens of Africa website.


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Monday, January 20, 2014

My $11.94 Gold Gown

Gold Gown Barbie was one of my last 2013 doll purchases.   The doll arrived a couple of weeks ago and had not been deboxed until yesterday.  

Her complexion and hair are not as pale and light as the above image suggests.  She is a lovely doll, but had I not needed to use my final Barbie Fan Club Reward, I doubt I would have purchased. The Reward is the reason she was $11.94.

I like her Goddess head sculpt, which I do not have in this complexion.  Her facial features remind me of actress, Naya Rivera, which is another reason I purchased this particular doll.


Note:  The above photo was taken using my iPad camera. This post was written from that device to test the Blogger app  This method is okay for quick posts that contain few details, but I doubt I will use it often.  I am too old school and often too wordy.  Plus the low resolution iPad photos do not offer as much detail as photos taken with my digital camera.

It is still a decent option for a quick post.

Gold Gown Barbie -- photographed using my digital camera.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Throwback Thursday: The Original Candi Girl

Hamilton Design Systรฉme Candi Couture ad, Doll Reader, August 1994

While searching through my doll article archives, I stumbled upon a xerographic copy of an article a doll friend from Novia Scotia sent me in 1998.  I was pleased to see the headshot of the creator of the original Candi Girl dolls, Helena Hamilton.  Of course I read the article when Kim sent it to me, but had forgotten all about it and had definitely forgotten that I had seen the lovely image of Ms. Hamilton.

After scanning the two-page article, "Hey There Candi Girl! Barbie Doll's Sophisticated Competition" by Beauregard Houston-Montgomery, published in the December/January 1998 issue of Contemporary Doll Collector, I decided to share it here along with a link to a post I published in February 2010 on Hamilton's Candi



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Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ari's Sling

This is Ari by Renate Hockh.
After reading the February 11, 2013, post, No Sling Included, blog reader, AAtika, wanted to know the measurements of this little guy's sling (that I initially thought I did not have).

Before providing the measurements, I wanted to share better photos than those in my initial post on Naila and Ari by Renate Hockh.  The photos below illustrate how he is placed in the sling that is draped around Naila's shoulders and tied in front as she carries him on her back.

Ari is secured tightly in the sling that Naila lovingly has on her back.  The sling is secured her shoulders.
This side view shows how carefree Ari is in his sling.  He knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that Naila will not let him fall.

Looking as though he wants to be placed back on Naila's back, Ari agreed to pose for this photo still wearing his sling, which is shown below followed by the measurements AAtika requested.

Ari's sling

Made of muslin-looking, cotton blend material, the measurements of the sling are as follows:

Each tie measures 8 inches.
The length of the sling (minus the ties from top-to-bottom)  measures12 inches.
The widest area of the sling (minus the ties from side-to-side) measures approximately 10 inches.
The area in the center that tapers in, width-wise, measures 8 inches.  
From top-to-bottom and side-to-side (including ties, with ties extended) it measures 30 inches.

I hope this helps!


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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Cutie Keyshia x2

Fashion Madness Weekend Fun and Special Day Keyshia pose with the cardboard liner of their box.  In Vanna White style, they show off the graphics, which include two, too-cute silhouettes of the girls.

With all the recent talk about Fashion Madness TJ and then Dwayne, it is finally time for the two Keyshias to shine.  They are being allowed, after much insistence, to tell their own stories.

Hi!  My name is Special Day Keyshia!

Special Day KeyshiaWell, Debbie removed  me from my box first and immediately examined my knee joints after making note of the open-toe, slip-on black sandals that I wear with... socks.   

Debbie thinks my socks with sandals is a fashion faux pas.

Getting me completely out of the box was a snap.  There was just one elastic band holding me at the waist.  My feet were held in place with a white ribbon and so was my long wavy and rooted hair, but that ribbon was black. 

At first Debbie thought my outfit was a dress (giggle).  It's really two pieces:  a red blouse and houndstooth skirt.  Black lace trims the waist of my skirt.  Both close with Velcro in back.  My red tam matches my blouse.  It has a tiny white pom-pom on it.  

Debbie likes my clothes, but my makers did cut corners.  (They gave me flesh-tone molded-on panties.  It doesn't look like I am wearing any!)   I'll try to sit lady-like and not bend over too much in this skirt. 

 I wear white stud earrings that Debbie initially thought were molded on, but then she noticed the post of my right stud is sticking out.  It is angled in my earlobe in an upward direction and cannot be removed. It's not supposed to be like that.  Flaw #1 (Debbie thought). 

The stud is supposed to lay flat against my earlobe.  Someone must have fallen asleep on the job when my assembly was done or they just didn't care.
Then Debbie noticed a black mark along the side of my face.  My company's poor quality control made her shake her head in disbelief.  Then she thought:  Flaw #2.  

She took me outside to take this picture of the black mark on my face.  I enjoyed the sunlight but I am also unhappy about the mark.  Debbie thinks she might be able to remove it though.  Now I'm shaking my head!

Next, all my joints were examined.  Debbie was relieved that they all work well, but then she noticed some discoloration and imperfections in the vinyl on the lower part of my right inner arm.  It looks like I might have gotten too close to a  heating element or something.  It really does look like a surface burn.  What were those people thinking that made me?  Oh well, it's on the inside of my arm and it's not very noticeable.  She knew her camera probably wouldn't get a focused picture of it, so she didn't bother photographing my arm problem.

Finally, she posed me in several positions and smiled while doing it, so I think she likes me even with imperfections! 


Hi!  I am Weekend Fun Keyshia!

Weekend Fun Keyshia:  My twin sister always wants to be first at whatever we do.  I've learned to let her have her way.  Now that she has shared her first experience in our new home, I will share mine.

I was attached to my box the same way my sister was attached to hers, except a plastic fastener held one sleeve of my blouse to the box.   After Ms. Debbie cut that, she removed my feet and hair from underneath the ribbons that held them down and removed the rubber band from my waist to free me!  

"Wow... there are a lot of dolls here!"  That was the first thing I said.  I was a little afraid at first, but within a few minutes, I saw several faces smiling back at me.  Plus, the most important thing is that  my other family members are here!  So I am in love with this place!

More About Me:  My hair is styled in two side ponytails and it is very long.  It is as long as my sister's and rooted like hers, but my hair is straight, not wavy.   Ms. Debbie did have to trim away some long strands from one of my ponytails.  My sister and I both have brown painted eyes.  Ms. Debbie thought our eyes looked beady when she saw our online pictures.  I heard her say our eyes remind her of Lauryn Hill's.  I guess I can "see" the resemblance.  

People think I'm wearing two shirts, but it's really one.

My green, two-tone top is worn with blue denim jeans.  My black sandals are identical to my sister's.  Ms. Debbie thinks they work well with my casual clothes.   I wear a black and white check neck scarf and my stud earrings are silver.  They lay flat against my earlobes the way they should.

The only minor problem Ms. Debbie found about me is that my knee joints are looser than my sister's.  I can still stand alone, but Ms. Debbie had to be careful how she positioned me to keep me from falling.  

The Two Keyshias in Unison:  Debbie's overall opinion is that of all the Fashion Madness dolls, she likes us the best!  It's probably because of our height of only 9 inches and our proportional heads.  (We all agree that the other family members have huge heads!)  Except for our waist and wrists, we are fully articulated.  Some of our other family members do not have as many moveable joints.


The two girls are right.  I think they are adorable.  Even though they both have issues, the issues are tolerable.  Below, the girls are joined by some of the deboxed members of the Fashion Madness Kenya family.

Fashion Madness dolls, TJ, Kenya, Keyshia, Denise, Keyshia, and Dwayne

Thank you, twin Keyshias, for sharing your first experience here.  I couldn't have written it any better.  I am thankful you arrived to complete your family.  Since you probably did not recognize Denise, I plan to purchase another one soon.  Instead of giving the next one a lip enhancement, I will just darker her pale lip color.


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Monday, January 13, 2014

More On TJ

Weekend Hang TJ

I decided to debox the Weekend Hang TJ that I received for Christmas.  He has articulated knees only.  He is dressed in his original outfit:  black skull cap, black sleeveless shirt, green jogging pants, and white low-top sneakers with red stripes.

After deboxing, a comparison with my fully articulated Night Out TJ followed.  I was surprised by their differences.

Weekend Hang is 1/2 inch taller than Night Out TJ

Night Out (NO) TJ is a full one-half inch shorter than Weekend Hang (WH) TJ!  Their bodies are completely different.  The stock number stamped on their lower backs differs, which proves the company used different bodies for the two versions.  NO's number is: 130615349186.  WH's number is:  121008350199.

Night Out TJ and Everyday Dwayne
Speaking of differences in height, I deboxed Everyday Dwayne, also received for Christmas.  As others have pointed out, Dwayne and TJ use the same head sculpt... Wait! Before I proceed with NO TJ and Dwayne's comparison.  Look at TJ's above close-up.  Is it just me or does he remind you (even if you don't know who he is/was) Bahamian-American actor, Calvin Lockhart?

TJ reminds me of Calvin Lockhart, best known for his role as "Biggie Smalls" in the 1975 movie, Let's Do It Again, with Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier.

Back to where I was:  The differences between TJ and Dwayne are Dwayne's reddish-brown complexion, sandy brown flocked hair, and their bodies differ, with again different stock numbers on their backs.  Dwayne's number is 130615340916.  Like Weekend Hang TJ, Everyday Dwayne's articulation is at the knees only.

Height comparison, Night Out TJ and Everyday Dwayne; as illustrated in this image and in their headshot above, Dwayne is  the taller of the two.

While Night Out TJ and Dwayne both measure 12 inches from head to toe with their shoes on, Dwayne is a smidgen taller than NO TJ but also shorter still than WH TJ.  The following photo, where the guys style and profile, illustrates their differences in height.

L-R:  The Kenya Fashion Madness Guys - Night Out TJ, Weekend Hang TJ, and Everyday Dwayne.  WH TJ has borrowed NO TJ's shades because, "He's gotta wear shades."

Issues, Issues, Issues and More Issues:
Weekend Hang TJ has better control of his knee joints than either doll.  His knees only bend when manipulated.  The one I received, like most of the dolls, did have issues.  One of his eyebrows has a drop of brown paint on it.  If the paint had been straight or angled onto his eyebrow and not round, it would almost look as though he shaved a portion of it.  His head was loose, but for some reason difficult to turn.  I pushed it down snugly to eliminate the looseness, but I have to almost use force to turn it from one side to the other.  Even after pushing his head down onto his body, he's still taller than the others.  So while many might crave full articulation, if these guys' over-sized heads is not a turn-off, those who prefer height, might opt for WH over NO TJ and Everyday Dwayne.

Dwayne did not arrive without issues.  There are gaps in the seams on his feet; one foot is worse than the other.  While his legs don't bow like NO TJ's, the knees do not lock in place when standing straight causing his lower leg to extend forward (hyperextend).  This cannot be done, nor would I want to do it, with WH TJ's more sturdy legs.

If not positioned just right, Everyday Dwayne's legs tend to sway backward.


An assessment of the two Keyshia's I purchased will follow.  In the meantime, the Fashion Madness Kenya line, playscale males and females, can be summed up as follows:  Until you open the dolls' boxes, you won't know what you have.  The chances of getting a doll without issues is slim.  Flaws and inconsistencies from one doll to the next has been the norm for me.   Am I unhappy that I purchased or received as gifts?  No.  Would I have preferred perfect dolls?  Absolutely!


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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Closing "The List"

Screen snapshot of the final home page of the WeLoveBlackDolls Yahoo! Group (click or stretch to enlarge).

On January 12, 2001, after having been a member of other Yahoo! doll groups that did not adequately serve my needs, I founded/created the WeLoveBlackDolls Yahoo! Group (WLBD).   The group was founded in an effort to network with others who share my passion for black dolls of all types.  We congregated via the list to share tips on collecting, photos of our latest acquisitions, discussed our doll wants and desires, and ultimately became one huge cyberspace family of black-doll lovers. 

Last year I made the difficult decision to close the list on its anniversary date, today, which marks 13 full years of accomplishing the goal of networking with others who share my passion.  Long-lasting friendships have also resulted in the process. 

As a result of "the list," many members (most reside in different states) have developed strong friendships, met in person at doll conventions, gone on outings, a cruise, and several have been hosted, more than once, in the home of one member.  We became a family of women who not only shared our love for black dolls, we provided support and comfort when needed; we prayed together; celebrated births, and discussed current events in an atmosphere that was always pleasant. 

WLBD Club Dolls from 2004-2010

Beginning in 2004, we chose a doll annually as that year's WLBD club doll.  Our club dolls were either manufactured dolls or created especially for the group by commissioned doll artists such as Laura Tuzio-Ross, Lorna Miller-Sands, Diana E. Vining, Ping Lau, Berdine Creedy, Lorna Paris, and Helen Kish, who created our final club doll in honor of one of our members who passed away in February 2012. 

2013 WLBD Club Doll Jada Loves Dolls created in an ultra limited edition in honor of Ruth Manning.

So why did I make the difficult decision to close the list?  I have both personal and professional goals that need to be met by the end of 2014.  Because of this, my focus for the better part of the year must be on meeting these goals.  I will continue to write about the dolls I love here and for doll publications when contracted to do so, but most of my time needs to be focused on offline activities.

I will greatly miss congregating with members of the list to discuss dolls and the occasional off-topic subject, a pleasurable activity I could count on doing on a daily basis for the past 13 years.  The members of WLBD -- the list -- will forever, however, remain connected through the continued love for black dolls. 


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