Rokhaya Diop is Franco-Senegalese. After studying accounting, she immediately entered the workforce. She is currently working in a large social protection group as a sales assistant. She has always been passionate about entrepreneurship. Today she has just launched “Urbidolls”, the black and mixed dolls. Ze-Africanews.com went to meet him.
Ze-Africanews.com: You have just created two dark and mixed black dolls “Urbidolls”, why black and mixed dolls?
Rokhaya Diop: For my birthday my niece Binta, asked me a doll Snow Queen. I told myself, no, this year it will be a black doll. It was a journey of the fighter to find one, which corresponded to my criteria. The idea began to germinate to create a doll that would meet my criteria while pleasing my niece. Binta, inspired me to create the black and mestizo dolls that resemble her.
What are the characteristics of “Urbidolls” dolls?
Our dolls have the peculiarity of having frizzy curly hair like little black girls, voluminous hair really silky.
Why the name “Urbidolls”?
First, I love Egypt, its history and everything related to it. “Urbi” in Egyptian means “princess”, it is a nod to all our African princesses.
Do you think that it has a lack of representation through toys, for black girls and mixed in ages to play with dolls?
Go for a ride at Toys r’us or in toy stores, you will find that black dolls are rare when they are not found, and the variety leaves frankly to be desired. This is also true for other toys. There, too, there is a lack of blatant diversity even in literary books, where it is extremely difficult to find a black hero. We are in 2017, and we have to search for black dolls. That’s Aberrant!
What is the added value your doll brings to the market of already existing black and mestizo dolls?
Again the “hair!”. Indeed, black dolls, there are some but they have all smooth hair. The fact that our dolls have curly or curly hair allows the child to identify himself.
“Playing with a black or mestizo doll allows the child to value self-esteem, to exteriorize his daily life but also to identify himself with this toy. “
What is the message you want to get through the Urbidolls dolls?
That “Black is Beautiful”. That a little girl should not be ashamed of her hair, nor of her skin color. Self-esteem and trust also go hand in hand. A mom sent me a mail that said “Finally a doll that has the same hair as her. Since the time I was looking for one. “If it can help the little black or mixed girls to blossom and to represent themselves, I am happy.
To create a black doll, this is far from being trivial, is there a certain militancy that is hidden behind? And in what way is this militant action going to change something in a French society where girls make their very early difference to discrimination?
Reason more, to help the girls in this case black, to value themselves and to have confidence in it. Enjoying other colors and their cultural diversity is very important in today’s society. Yes, it can be said that it is a militant act, if on a small scale, I can help change things through the eyes of children.
Playing with these black and mixed dolls will bring what to the black and mixed girls or others?
Playing with a black or mestizo doll allows the child to value self-esteem, to exteriorize his daily life but also to identify himself with this unreal toy that will surely become his best friend.
Are these dolls exclusively reserved for black and mixed-race girls or are they also intended for white girls, to make them discover other dolls than traditional ones?
They are for all the little girls of the world! Black and mixed-race children need dolls that resemble them and children of other colors can have black dolls to represent their playmates.
For now, you have two dolls on the market, do you plan to expand the range?
Absolutely. Our range will expand in the coming weeks, months to include other shades of skin, hair or dress design. In addition, we have a lot of requests for black barbies with frizzy curly hair. We think about it and “why not”?