Friday, October 5, 2018

More Black Dolls on Film Updated

As a followup to my original post, A Chronology of Black dolls on Film, the following additions are noted in screen captured images and descriptive text.

The Inkwell
Drew (Larenz Tate) is seen holding his handmade doll during a discussion with his parents (played by Joe Morton and Suzzane Douglas).

Handmade doll used in The Inkwell

The Inkwell, 1994.  "Set in the summer of 1976, the film follows the adventures of Drew Tate (Larenz Tate), a shy 16-year-old from upstate New York, when he and his family spend two weeks with affluent relatives on Martha's Vineyard. Eventually, all the incidents happening there lead to a life-changing event for Drew as well as his parents.” (Edited Youtube description by vade Alexi).  Drew has a handmade doll named Yago that is his constant companion until his family takes their two-week trip to Martha’s Vineyard when Drew is forced to leave Yago at home.  A couple of online references indicate Drew’s doll’s name is Lago. I viewed the opening scene of the movie where Drew is talking to the doll and I clearly heard him say “Yago.” 

Inkwell Historical Fact:  “Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, part of Massachusetts’ Cape Cod Islands, is one of several historic African American summer resort communities along the Atlantic seaboard founded in the 1890s. The “Inkwell” or Town Beach in Oak Bluffs is the name of the popular beach frequented by African Americans beginning in the late nineteenth century. The strand was pejoratively called “The Inkwell” by nearby whites in reference to the skin color of the beachgoers.  It is the most famous of beaches across the U.S. to transform this odious nickname into an emblem of pride.” [BlackPast.Org]

A Saintly Switch
Siblings in A Saintly Switch are in the process of conjuring up a spell on their parents using the male and female dolls shown above in the front center of the photo.

Close-up of the dolls used in A Saintly Switch

A Saintly Switch, 1999, “is an American made-for-TV comedy film directed by Peter Bogdanovich and produced in 1999 by Walt Disney Entertainment, first exhibited on ABC's The Wonderful World of Disney. The plot revolves around an aging NFL quarterback and his stay-at-home wife switching bodies.” [Wikipedia]  After their two children tire of their parents’ bickering, the older child uses a potion and dolls to cause the parents' body switch.  The dolls used are Olmec’s Melenik and their original Imani.

Funny Valentines

Funny Valentines, 1999.  “Upon discovering her husband's infidelity, Joyce (Alfre Woodard) abruptly decides to move her daughters (Megalyn Echikunwoke, Kajuana Shuford) from New York to her hometown deep in the heart of the American South. Reuniting with her cousin Dearie (Loretta Devine) and her ailing aunt Ethel (CCH Pounder), Joyce and her long-lost relatives confront demons from their past, notably the year Joyce left for the big city. In repairing her relationship with her family, Joyce learns about herself” and a well-kept family secret [Google].   

Dearie B. and Gail play with two fashion dolls in Funny Valentines.  They are seen in close-up photos next.

In Funny Valentines, Loretta Devine’s character, Dearie B. plays dolls on a front porch swing with her cousin’s daughter, Gail.  The dolls could be Olmec’s Imani or Integrity Toys’ Janay, which were both popular non-Mattel fashion dolls in 1999.

Toni receives a portrait doll gift from her boyfriend, Todd...

...and she looks genuinely happy with Little Toni.

Girlfriends, Season 3, 2002-2003.  In episode 11, “Santa vs. Monica” of this situation comedy, Todd gives Toni a portrait doll for Christmas.  Little Toni, the doll, has a weird effect on Toni that Todd is able to help her overcome at the end of the episode.

Clearly, a fashion doll, Toni's doll appears to use Mattel's 1990s Teresa head sculptWatch the episode at the link below.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
Titus is seen in a screen capture of an Instagram compilation of images posted by Instagramer, StaceyMcIrby on May 25, 2017.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, 2017 (a Netflix series).  Thank you April for letting me know “on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Titus Andromedon collects dolls, including The Prettie Girls fashion dolls.” Titus is shown with the dolls above in a screen capture of an Instagram compilation of images posted by StaceyMcIrby on May 25, 2017.  See the full post at the link below.  According to Stacey’s post, the Prettie Girls dolls were on the Season 3 opening of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  McBride Irby is the designer of the Prettie Girls dolls.   

Sunjai Williams Doll

The Sunjai doll is seen in an Internet-captured photo.

Not a doll on TV but the Sunjai doll is a portrait doll of a former dancer on the Lifetime TV reality show, Bring It! Designed by Stacey McBride Irby, this 12-inch, articulated doll is the first in the IamU Uniquely Beautiful doll collection, available to purchase in a limited edition on Amazon.

Life-Size 2

Tyra Banks gave a sneak peek of Life-Size 2 with this photo posted on Instagram on October 4, 2018. The doll Tyra holds appears to be a one-of-a-kind portrait doll of the movie's star, who also executive produced the movie.

"Life-Size 2 is a 2018 American fantasy-comedy television film directed by Steven Tsuchida and starring Tyra Banks and Francia Raisa. It is the sequel to Life-Size starring Banks and Lindsay Lohan, which originally premiered in 2000 on ABC as part of The Wonderful World of Disney." Wikipedia.  Life-size 2 will premiere on the Freeform channel in December 2018.

Holly Robinson Peete on Meet the Peetes

With a background of dolls, Holly Robinson Peete is seen in a Meet the Peetes episode.

Instagrammer Ohmydollin informed me that Holly Robinson Peete is a celebrity doll collector.  Because I watch her current Hallmark reality show, Meet the Peetes, I made it point to scope out the background for dolls in upcoming shows.  In the episode that aired Monday, April 15th, "It Runs in the Family," Holly is in her bedroom with her mother packing clothing in preparation for a trip to Vancouver to film a new movie series, Morning Show Mysteries.  As she packs, a shelf of dolls can be seen in the background.  The only doll I readily recognize is the Misty Copeland Barbie.  The doll dressed in white to the left of the Misty Copeland Barbie might be another Barbie.

There appear to be cloth and baby dolls on the shelf below the Barbies as illustrated in this blurry photo taken with the DVR recording of Meet the Peetes on pause.  These are possibly dolls from Holly's childhood.  Other dolls from her childhood are featured in this Huffington Post article, "Celebrity Collector: Holly Robinson Peete."


Facebook-friend Angela Real Young  informed me about the dolls used in The Inkwell and in the episode of Girlfriends.  Willena Nanton of Male Doll World shared the information about the dolls in A Saintly Switch and Funny Valentines.

Girlfriends, Season 3, Episode 11, “Santa vs Monica”
Stacy McBride-Irby's Instagram post of May 25, 2017

The movies, A Saintly Switch and Funny Valentines were also available for viewing in full version on Youtube at the time this post was published.   Now that Youtube has monetized movies, these free versions will probably not be there long.


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  1. Thanks for sharing these glimpses of dolls in movies. My favorites are the Sunjai Williams doll and the second Life-size 2 Tyra Banks doll. And I'd love to see a male doll collector on a tv show. I'm going to borrow the dvd for "The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt."

    1. Hi D7ana,

      I am happy to hear you found this post enjoyable. I have Netflix and have been meaning to check out this particular episode of the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.



  2. I like the update and now I will be on the lookout for more dolls in tv and in the movies. Thanks.

    1. Thanks for commenting MDW and thanks again for sharing the additions I was able to add to this post.

      I watched a couple of old episodes of Rev Run Sunday Suppers and saw a Barbie doll display in their bedroom. His wife, Justine, apparently collects collector edition Barbies that she keeps unopened. There was just a split second where I saw the entire shelf and could see that the dolls were Barbies. For the rest of the scene, Rev Run stood in front of the shelf, obstructing the view, as he talked to Justine, who was lying in bed.

      In another episode of Rev Run Sunday Suppers, there was a very brief glimpse of what looked like an American Girl or similar doll that must be their youngest daughter's. The daughter, Miley, was in the same scene and the doll was near her.


  3. In the movie Crossroads appears a black bride barbie doll and I think it is a Dream Wedding Barbie Gift Set (AA) and in the movie Yes Man a black doll appears that seems to be a barbie, but I do not know what it is?

    1. Thank you, Nicholas for sharing this "dolls-in-movies" information. I will check these out soon.



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