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Local African dolls outselling Barbie in Nigeria

I don’t personally have a big history of playing with dolls, and as a large, bearded male who enjoys violent sports, I might not even be the sort of customer that doll manufacturers have in mind when creating their products. I’m not really offended by that. But a story that didn’t sit as well with me comes from Nigeria, where, one day, Taofick Okoya’s daughter told him that she wished she was white. The comment didn’t sit well with Okoya either, and instead of lamenting the lack of dolls who could make his daughter feel content in her own skin, he got to work.

“All the dolls in the house were all white, and I was like, ‘Oh, OK, that’s a problem,’ ” Okoya said. “Because when you load a child with all this, it becomes an acceptable form of … how you should look. And so I thought, I want to use my dolls to teach Nigerian culture, African culture.”

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