St Lucian doll maker criticised for dolls being ‘too dark’

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St Lucian doll maker criticised for dolls being ‘too dark’
Mala Bryan with her dolls (Photo by Malaville Dolls Twitter)
Mala Bryan with her dolls (Photo by Malaville Dolls Twitter)

Saint Lucia-born international model Mala Bryan who launched a collection of fashionable black dolls in 2015, has been criticised by customers that the dolls are “too dark” and probably wouldn’t sell.

Bryan’s ‘Malaville’ line is comprised of four stunning dolls that come in several different shades of brown, each with her own backstory, including career and hobbies.

However, not everyone is a fan. One customer, C. Lincoln, commented on Bryan’s Maisha doll, which has the darkest complexion of the four, writing, “I think that one doll [Maisha doll] is a bit too dark. That’s like the Sudanese doll. I think it’s safe to say that’s the least bestselling. … Keep the other three and create accessories etc. Keep doing what you do, sistah.”

A replying commentator defended the doll, pointing to Sudanese model Alek Wek’s success. Bryan responded to the screengrab on Instagram with positivity July 19. She let buyers with similar skin tones know “your black is beautiful.”

And Bryan herself wrote that she first thought about ignoring the ignorant comment. “But I’m sharing just so that people realize that our super dark people must still be facing a huge problem,” she wrote. “This is just sad. Although I got a compliment at the end, the person had the nerve to talk about [Maisha] being the least selling when she actually my second best-selling.”

Several Instagram users voiced their disappointment that someone would think a doll wouldn’t sell simply because of its dark skin tone — the ‘too dark’ comment echoing the societal and cultural pressures that many girls and women with dark skin tones face to lighten their complexion.

Until recently, children’s dolls often didn’t reflect the diversity of the kids who played with them.

Bryan who hails from La Pointe, Mon Repos and lived in Vieux Fort said as a doll collector she found it difficult to find different black dolls with ethnic hair to add to her collection.

She said she realized she was not the only one having that issue but other adult collectors and parents wanting to add diversity to their children’s doll collection, which led her to launch her own collection of black dolls.

The model who now resides in South Africa said her dolls are unique because she designed them.

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Dark and comely.
    People of dark complexion tend to age better than people of light complexion.
    Usain Bolt is black. Serena Williams is black. Daren Sammy is black.........

    (6)(1)

  2. That person is just a hater the dolls complexion are not too dark because I swear that when I went to secondary there was a girl in my class that complexion.

    (5)(1)

  3. Please let me know where we could get the dolls. Would be happy to purchase a dozen or so from you....the darkest ones at that. Please post your contact details.

    (4)(0)

  4. the black dolls are really super.i suppose some of us need to understand the absolute power and versatility of our black complexion.Additionally here are several supernatural reasons for our black skin.
    i hope Bryan continues to make her dolls fully black,brown that reflects us as a black race.
    Man i wish i could write all i have found out about our black race!!

    (3)(1)

  5. Huh ! Really Mace ? U.need to travel or google images of people from different countries even from Africa.

    (0)(1)

  6. Put aside the color of the dolls. These dolls look like white dolls painted black. If you are going to make black dolls, you got to make the face like black people. Black people don't have noses like this, eyes like these. I guess she has to make the dolls look more blackish and not whitesh. But the idea is good

    (13)(14)

  7. I struggle for ages to get coloured dolls for my 3 different shade children, I am white and my partner is black, good on this lady for bringing them to market, they are all beautiful, wish I could get them here.

    (13)(2)

  8. Some people are very ignorant and they need to educate themselves. There is a story behind each doll and that is what she is portraying. What is wrong with someone skin color now ???????

    (11)(1)

  9. the only alteration to the dolls i would SUGGEST is making their shapes/figures more realistic. while these dolls may succeed in teaching young girls to accept their skin colour, and recognising that they are beautiful, they must also be taught that a size zero does not equal beautiful. not all of us are or will ever be models. so this may still give them a distorted view of what should and/or is considered beautiful. Having said that, i applaud her attempt and making black dolls, as i have a two year old daughter and find it very difficult to find her a black doll. so this is definitely a starting point.

    (14)(1)

  10. Commentor needed a reality check because they're obviously suffering from colorism if they're black. Very good job Bryan wish we could get them sold in slu.

    (14)(2)

  11. Ridiculous that one can say a doll is too dark! It's outrageous! There are all different shades of black and they are all equally beautiful. I think all the dolls are gorgeous. Come on people emancipate yourself from mental slavery, your black my black all beautuful! Embrace it!

    (13)(2)

  12. I see no reason to fuss, it is a representation of the skin tone of some people. I am of the darker tone myself. I really do not get why some people appear to be ashamed of their skin color, which they had no input on in the first place. You were created that way! you were created beautiful! why oh why would you feel that darker is less attractive or should be undesirable... Maybe we've grown up for so long with white or lighter dolls that the concept of darker dolls make us uneasy, our psychology has maybe been turned against ourselves...

    (11)(2)

  13. Cuz. We are very proud of you for your collection. In life, every thing you do will draw criticism. Its a shame that people will still look down on things because they are black. Black is beauty.

    (8)(2)

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