Nigerian entrepreneur Taofick Okoya is making a name for himself with a line of dolls called “Queens of Africa.” After trying to purchase a doll for his niece at the store and finding only whitewashed toys, he realized stores in Nigeria were not carrying black dolls—and decided it was a major problem (which, of course, it absolutely is).
Okoya took matters into his own hands by creating products that “to promote a positive self-identity… as well as preserve African culture.”
The dolls have three models based on three different tribes of Nigeria. Nneka is of the Igbo tribe, Azeezah of the Hausa, and Wuraola of the Yoruba. Nneka represents love, Azeezah represents peace, and Wuraola represents endurance. You can watch a music video introducing the three models on the website, in which Azeezah holds a #BringBackOurGirls sign.
The sales these dolls are making are giving Barbie a run for its money in Nigeria, outselling them even, according to Reuters Magazine. Okoya has up to a 10% grip on the toy market in that country, and the dolls are even gaining popularity beyond of the continent among buyers in America and Europe.
In an interview with Elle South Africa, Okoya said that his idea was first met with the words: “Black dolls don’t sell.” We’re glad he proved them wrong.”Like I said, as a father of a girl… I can only but create an environment or platform within my power… to find herself, and be a contributing member of society.”