It’s been nearly two and half decades since Mattle released the brown version of the original fair skinned, blonde barbie. But a new brown doll from South Africa has arrived, hoping to change things up with its authentic roots as well as changing the beauty standards for young girls. Momppy Mpoppy dolls were created by founder of Childish Trading Manufacture, Maite Makgoba, who first launched the dolls last June after realizing that the black dolls on the market was not appealing to little black girls. Makgoba stated that unlike Barbie dolls and other dolls on the market, Momppy Mpoppy dolls celebrate “African girls with it’s coily curls, lush wooly hair, sun-kissed golden skin, and African Fabulousness.”
“Momppy Mpoppy gives the world a view of the magic that is our African princesses,” she says.
Momppy Mpoppy dolls took over a year to make and Makgoba expressed her goals for the dolls as “perfecting their look of diversity” During an interview with Seventeen Magazine, Makgoba spoke about the “long and educational” doll-making process, and why she thinks her “Afro Chique” dolls will change the meaning of beautiful.
“I want little girls that look like Momppy to realize the beauty that is blackness from a young age, and embrace their beauty as pure beauty. Not just “exotic” or “dark beauty” – but beauty in its pure form. I want little girls that do not look like Momppy to play with a Momppy Mpoppy because this will open their mind to the real world, which doesn’t have one human race or one standard type of beauty, and such things enhance tolerance.”
“Momppy Mpoppy is more than just another brown doll on the shelf. [She is] an all around African kiddies character that has ambitions of being a household name, like its international competitors.
It obviously represents the African culture more [than Barbie]. And a modern African culture, since Childish [Childish Trading and Manufacturing, the parent company for the Momppy Mpoppy doll] is a company run by young Africans. From how she dresses to how her character develops will be an African story. And I feel most little girls in African diasporas will relate, even European and Asian little girls, because Africa has always been a mystery to many or even misrepresented or misunderstood, so Momppy Mpoppy will open up that world to them.”
Along with the creation of the doll, the company also creates the clothing. Makgoba states “This is more than just a business, we are creating awareness, that our dark skin and thick Afro hair are pretty as they are.” When young girls are playing with dolls, Makgoba wants young girls to see themselves while they’re playing.“Black children are confronted with growing up in a world that does not represent them, everything is skewed towards whiteness.”
Let’s hope that these dolls can help empower and inspire you girls at an early age and hopefully Momppy Mpoppy dolls will soon be sold in stores here in the U.S.
Photo Credit: Seventeen