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Growing up, many of us had our fair share of dolls. From Cabbage Patch Kids to Barbie Dolls, we happily spent hours playing house, pretending to diaper babies, or styling their hair.

While many of us had white dolls (they were widely available after all), some of us opted to have black dolls. Perhaps we wanted to play with a toy that looked like us, or maybe our parents were tired of seeing us ogle over a doll with white skin. Either way, for many of us, choosing black dolls was personal and political.

A new film by Samantha Knowles delves deeper into the world of black dolls. The film, aptly titled “Why Do You Have Black Dolls?” takes a look at avid collectors and what prompts them to buy black dolls.

According to the official synopsis, the film was, “inspired by a question asked of an 8-year old girl. It explores the history, the beauty, and the pride that is the black doll. Through its characters, a little-known community of black doll enthusiasts, it reveals that the black doll is more than a plaything; it is a cultural artifact that represents the history of the people it depicts.”

Do you collect black dolls? Why? 

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  • Echo

    I had that Barbie with the green eyes and red hair! She was from the Barbie and the Rockers line but she wasn’t “Barbie”–she had some other name. She was dope. I’m not a doll collector, but my sister began collecting the limited edition Holiday Barbies several years ago, and finding Black Holiday Barbies was frequently challenging. But she got one every year. When she passed in ’09, I didn’t continue her tradition of purchasing each year’s new doll but still incorporate her dolls into my holiday decorations.

    • Kristi

      Yes! I totally forgot her name though….

    • Marcia Maiss

      In Brazil we do not have black dolls. I would love to have them. I found some sites that sell like ebay, but it is very difficult and sometimes the delivery cost of purchase is high.
      In Brazil, we have so many blacks, but many have low self esteem. Children who only appreciate the beauty of the white woman, blonde … I am a teacher of Visual Arts and do everything possible to end the bias, showing that we are equal and we have no differences. We lack only money. When I expose some photos of black students repudiate. They are not to blame, because they are accustomed to doing so for years and years. But a couple of years now, I feel that something starts mudar.Ainda is a small change, but the market has not yet woken up to the reality. I’m sure if they sold many buy black dolls.

      I accept donations of black dolls and buy some too. I need to show my students. I need to change the layout. Otherwise, how are continued. This needs to be changed ..

      Nice job with the movie. I hope to watch it soon. I would like to make contact with people who produce dolls, need to know how they are made. It’s amazing to film photography. Only the small part I love.
      Someone want to contact, please

      Marcia
      facebook: MARCIAMAISS