Black woman creates series of dolls with afros to help Black girls love their hair

A Boston woman who grew up ashamed of her hair and skin has launched a line of dolls designed to encourage little black girls to appreciate themselves just as they are

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As a child Widline Pyrame grew up in Haiti hating her kinky hair so much that she burned her scalp and went bald accidentally after using chemical relaxers to straighten the frizz, which eventually led to her hair falling out.

So now, the 30-year-old wants African American girls to love their luscious locs as much as she does now and created a line of dolls with afros as an ode to inspire Black girls to foster a love for their curly crowns, The Daily Mail reports.

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“I struggled with my self-esteem and confidence as a child,” said Pyrame who grew up in Haiti but moved to Boston in 2002.

“I thought I wasn’t beautiful enough because of my dark skin and hair texture, which led me to want straight hair so badly — just like they did in the magazines — so I looked more like the dolls, with sleek locks.

“I used my mother’s products all over my hair, hoping that it would be silky smooth. Instead it all fell out, and she was furious!”

It takes a village and it was Pyrame’s uncle who bought her and her sister Youselord a Black doll to share that helped her realize the beauty that was within herself.

She added: “One day my uncle got us a Black doll to share. We were so shocked to see that one existed that we just stared at her in amazement.”

That gift left an indelible impression on Pyrame who dedicated during her years of training as a social worker that she wanted to create a range of dolls that would combat the negative images perpetrated toward Black girls.

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“When children are playing, they want to see something that represents themselves,” she said. “I believe little girls seeing dolls that look just like them would help with the pressure of skin bleaching – which involves using a cosmetic cream or procedure to lighten the skin – and the pressure to change their hair texture.

“Many children, from India to the Dominican Republic, see darker skin as negative. We need more diversity and awareness in our early years to know that there’s nothing wrong with different skin tones,” she said.

And already Pyrame has seen the fruits of her labor through the approval of her niece who she says loves the dolls she created.

“Her eyes light up when I give her one of her own, it’s magical. It reminds me that we must love our uniqueness,” she said.

The dolls, created with Pyrame’s Haitian background in mind, are outfitted in clothing with African and Haitian cultural designs created by seamstresses in Florida. They sell online for $30 on average.

“I currently have four different dolls on offer. The first is Kenara, a Haitian girl who is all about celebrating the national flag and heritage,” she explained about her work. “Malikalia is an African doll, whose name means angel. Adelaida is a biracial girl who represents the different backgrounds black girls come from, and Nevah is another Haitian doll who loves celebrating Haitian independence day on January 1 as it was the first black country to gain independence.”

Pyrame hopes her dolls have as much of a powerful impact with young girls as a Black doll once had with her.

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“It would mean a lot for my customers and their children to feel represented as I didn’t when I was little – even if it means just seeing different skin colours, clothing and hair texture.

“’I want them to finally feel visible, comfortable and unique.”