KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI — Representation is so very important. While melaninated dolls are beginning to show up in more stores, there are still those who might feel excluded. With that in mind, this designer is tackling the task.
According to Today, the woman’s name is Crystal Kaye, and she’s the owner of and designer for Kay Customz.
“When kids walk down the doll aisle at a toy store, they need to see themselves represented,” Christina Marfice of Scary Mommy states while reviewing Kaye’s products.
“It’s why companies like American Girl are celebrated for including dolls of different races and genders — it’s simply affirming for kids to see themselves in their toys. The alternative is seeing shelves of dolls that don’t look like them, and can you imagine how ostracizing that must feel?”
As the source mentions, these dolls aren’t anything you’d likely see in your local department store. That’s why so many people are praising Kaye for taking the initiative to present a solution to the problem.
However, what sets her dolls apart from others — aside from addressing skin conditions like vitiligo — is the fact she creates them with the intended receiver in mind.
“Let me doll you!” is what you see when you enter her official website.
In an interview with Today, Crystal Kaye expounded on her goal as concerns the designs.
“My goal is to go beyond the average assembly line-looking doll, to make relatable and realistic works. I find new and used dolls at different thrift stores and yard sales and use them as a canvas. I’ve created ones with red hair and freckles and others with albinism.”
“I want to convey the message that beauty should not be manufactured, it should be based on one’s true mirror image,” Kaye elaborates further.
And like Kaye mentioned in her interview, she has several other dolls in her repertoire. Many of them also cater to Black girls without skin conditions.
It’s definitely important to showcase the absolute diversity of this world, and Kaye is doing a fantastic job of inclusion.
W Magazine reports the following statistics as an acknowledgement that there’s an issue.
“According to the [UCLA] study, people of color accounted for less of broadcast scripted show creators. People of color accounted for 13.9 percent of film leads, 12.6 percent of directors, 8.1 percent of film writers, 7.1 percent of creators of broadcast scripted shows, 7.3 percent of creators of cable scripted shows, and 15.7 percent creators of digital scripted shows.”
With that being said, true representation isn’t something little Black queens have the privilege of seeing on-screen regularly. Likewise, when they walk down toy aisles, they mostly see the regular type faces seen on television as well.
However, Kaye isn’t going to stand by and have our girls be forced to pick someone who doesn’t look like them.
Too, they also need to see male figures who look like them, right? No worries. “Ken” doesn’t have to be white, nor does he have to be clean-cut. Crystal has you covered all-around.
All in all, what are your thoughts about Crystal Kaye’s designs? It’s nice to see activists addressing key issues involving our community, right? If you have any comments, feel free to share them via our Facebook page.
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[Featured Photo via Kay Customz / Instagram]