Positively Perfect dolls, a new line of racially diverse toys from Dr. Lisa Williams, aims to inspire pride in young Black & Latino girls. As a counter to the wildly successful Barbie line of toys, the dolls are increasing in popularity across the nation.
Dr. Williams, who became the first Black person to earn a Ph.D. from Ohio State University in 1992, went on to add more to her legacy by becoming the first Black woman to earn tenure as a professor from Penn State University.
After leaving academics, Dr. Williams then wrote her book Leading Beyond Excellence: Learn 7 Practical and Spiritual Steps to Spiral Yourself to the Top, which was sold in Wal-Mart stores prompting its executives to the author to pen a series of children’s books.
The success of the books led the company to ask if Dr. Williams would create a line of dolls, something she initially approached with mild hesitation. However, seeing the dearth of Black baby dolls and watching a CNN television segment gave the doctor a boost.
“One little [black] girl broke my heart, she looked at the brown doll and said the doll was ugly. I cried, it broke my heart,” Williams said to The Grio for a feature piece . “For her to say something like that it shows you how deep those sentiments are in our culture.”
Dr. Williams acknowledged that she didn’t have the expertise in doll-making. However, her desire to have Black and Latino girls represented correctly has morphed from a labor of love to an entire mission to show how Barbie dolls do not cater dolls to the diverse needs of the public.
“The features do not represent our features,” Williams said. “I start from scratch, I sketch them out. I know how those lips should look, I know how the brown of their eyes should be. I know about the fullness of the lips, the shape of the face, I know that because it’s in my heart and in my vision and that’s what differentiates our dolls from anyone else. So when people see them they see and feel that difference.”
Positively Perfect dolls can be found in Wal-Mart stores nationwide. They can also be ordered from the website as well.
Hit the gallery to see photos of Dr. Lisa Williams’ Positively Perfect dolls.
Photos: Dr. Lisa Williams