Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back in the Black

After a drought of about five years, it appears that the discount stores in the African American neighborhoods I frequent around Atlanta are stocking an impressive supply of black and Hispanic dolls for the Christmas season.  The quality of the clothes and the dolls is still below pre-Recession standards but some of the designs are interesting and it is refreshing to have a wider variety of ethnic faces to choose from.

    The black “stylin heads” that appeared in Dollar Tree and Deals over the summer were the harbinger of this sea change.

I bought a dozen to use as wig stands.  Debbie Garrett of Black Doll Collecting sent me two more so one of them upgraded to a Liv body and became the star of the “Yogalicious” show. 

It was good to see her on a full body in Roses even if the body is hollow plastic with rigid legs. 

The black and white checked dress in the foreground was available in Dollar Tree as part of a series of doll fashions last year. 

I never got around to shooting it but Ms. Leo has featured it on her I Luv Dolls blog.  The green dress behind it was also part of that series but it is an absolute rag.  I cut it into a neat rectangle but my dolls wouldn’t even use it as a gym towel!

    I believe this Eloise doll has the same face mold as my Bea Garrett only in this incarnation she has a deep-toned complexion. 

I haven’t yet found a dark-skinned body upgrade for her but I think it is important for dark and lovely little girls to see a glamorous lady with skin as beautiful as theirs.  

    In 2006 when I moved to Atlanta’s West End, I was so thrilled to find a whole court of African American princess dolls in the discount stores that I bought about two dozen of them. 

In those days their bodies had bendable vinyl legs but I still swapped them onto higher quality Kari Michelle bodies.  This year I am happy to see Roses offering the court of princesses in Hispanic versions.

Even though I already have all the dresses and these bodies are made of hollow plastic with rigid legs, I bought one pair just for the face mold.

    Better than the adult court of Hispanic princesses, however, is the court of Kelly-sized princesses. 

Back in the 1990s I bought a Hispanic Kelly named Marissa.  I haven’t kept up with other ethnic Kelly offerings since then but getting five Hispanic children (some of whom will become boys) was a real boon for the casting department here at Ayamedia Studios. 

There are two different packs of Little Princess dolls available At Roses.  I chose this one for the Princess Jasmine and Ariel outfits, which I figured would make good Halloween costumes.  

    Keeping with the Princess theme, this $10 Dream Princess from Roses comes with ten dresses. 

She has a sweet face and the ball gown is halfway decent but most of the other dresses are so garish and cheap that I’d have to be doing a Cecil B. DeMille crowd scene before I would inflict them on any doll.

     The last doll I found at Dollar General was this Formal Fashion Lil’ Princess. 


Although she cost only $1, the dress is decent quality and her face is enchanting.

    Normally I am enchanted with fairies of any kind but I really hate to see un-natural blue eyes on black dolls thus I have passed on these ladies so far. 

I might go back to Roses for the dresses, though. 

I can probably darken the eyes with a Sharpie…

Fortunately Roses is also stocking these Fairy Angel sisters. 

The fairy costumes fit some of my other dolls and the Kelly-sized baby sisters are adorable.

Meanwhile Dollar General is offering Lovely Patsy fairies in African American, and Hispanic versions. 

I’ve been stockpiling fairy outfits in case I want to shoot a story about a dance recital or a school production of “Midsummer Night’s Dream.” 

Before the Recession I probably would have bought three of each color so I would have enough for the full corps de ballet. 

This time I contented myself with just two and the quality of the costumes is rather poor so I won’t be back for the pink and red outfits.

In addition to the fairies, it was encouraging to see this ballerina at Roses. 

The molded on bodice irks me, but that smiling face may win me over since I haven’t seen one like it before.

    I’m not sure that the economic outlook is much brighter this year so I don’t know what has prompted Roses/ Maxway, Dollar General, and Dollar Tree to stock more black and Hispanic dolls for the Christmas season.  They definitely deserve to see their profits move further into the black for their decision to serve the needs of patrons in the communities where they are located so I’ll be featuring more discount dolls and fashions in the next several posts.

À Bientôt


  1. It's raining chocolate and carmel dolls in your area. Wonderful! The little ones are a delight to see. It is very rare for me to find Kelly-sized dolls here that are not white. In fact, I don't think I have ever seen any.

    Thank you for sharing your current and past doll finds. I should venture out soon and especially closer to the holidays when stores will have replenished their stock.


    PS The unnaturally blue-eyed doll has a lovely face. A brown Sharpie can help you achieve a more natural look.

    1. Yes, I think I'm going to have to get some of those blue-eyed fairies after all.

  2. Wonderful to see all the new additions! I bought a couple of Rose heads the other day for my new limbe doll wigs. I haven't seen any full size dolls yet. There were quite a few above that I really liked. The fairies are really cute and would make nice teenagers on LIV bodies. I may have to look for them. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Both the Fairy Angel sisters and the Fairies/Hadas from Dollar General have over-sized heads. The African American ones are also a little darker than dark Liv Alexis.

  3. I'll have to do shopping where you live, everything is super cool!

  4. Hello from Spain: congratulations on your purchases. I see so many beautiful dolls in the stores in your city. What envy! "My favorite is the AA doll with blue eyes. I like the contrast. Great buy!. Still in contact

  5. Once when I was in the Bahamas I saw a dark-skinned woman with charcoal gray eyes. She was arresting. Amongst the Trelawney maroons of Jamaica, there were also families that had blue eyes. (The maroons were communities of people who escaped from the plantations and formed villages high in the mountains where the slave catchers couldn't get them). Thus there are black people who have blue eyes but most of the little girls whose parents will be shopping in these stores have brown eyes. Since the dolls come in a two pack, I would like it better if one of the dolls had brown eyes. Then kids could see one doll that looks like they do and one that is "exotic."

  6. Congratzzzzzz for all the cool stuff YOU bought!! The black and white check dress is awesome!! Keep in touch :D Have a great day!!

  7. The Kelly-sized AA girl, the younger Fairy Angel sister, is one I might look for. Thanks for letting everyone know about these surprise finds. We have the Roses store here in Philly too; perhaps I will find her there ;-)

  8. Nice assortment. I have to start checking the stores for some new stuff :O)


  10. These arevwonderful. I've only recently discovered these Lil' Princess Formal Fashion dolls at Dollar General for #. They are adorable. I only have 2. 1 is white and tge other has dark skin with pink pigtails. I notice that the legs are shaped differently on each doll and their expressions are unique. The 1 with pink hair has a bigger smile than her counterpart. Their dresses are very nicely made for the cost of these girls and the tiny shoes are adorable. I want to collect them all! Thanks! J B