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.
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.
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.