There aren’t many coloring books centered around young black girls, specifically those of a darker hue — at least that’s what artist and writer Gloria Smith thinks.
Smith, born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, created what she describes as a puffy-haired character named “Miss Zee” to meet that demand. She was introduced online in approximately October of 2011, according to Topix.com.
The first images of Miss Zee were shown on individual coloring pages, which eventually grew into a published coloring book.
“Miss Zee represents my daughter and all the other little girls who are often left out,” Smith said on her Kickstarter page when soliciting funds to craft this product. In one month from July to August she successfully raised $5,789 for her coloring book project. She has now launched an Indiegogo campaign in order to extend the character’s brand. Her goal is to raise $20,000 in 45 days.
The funds will be used to produce more merchandise such as apparel, accessories, home decor and other items. Smith hopes to transform what started out as an effort by a mom trying to fill a void for her daughter into a mission to uplift all girls of color. Miss Zee‘s character, Smith hopes, will “prevent and combat self-esteem issues” as experienced by underrepresented little girls of color.
As a child, Smith suffered from low self-esteem, because she said there weren’t any toys or coloring books with people that looked like her. Eventually, she grew to love everything about herself both inside and out after going natural, which changed her mindset for the better.
In February of 2007, Smith launched Nappy Star, now known as Afro Glitz, as the first social networking website that catered to naturally kinky-haired women. Then in April of 2009, she launched Afro Glitz magazine, a glossy that focuses on various topics like the arts, entertainment and natural hair.
One can make a pledge to Miss Zee’s Indiegogo campaign by going here.
Follow Hassan Washington on Twitter @Hasswash