Who is your favorite #AfricanAmerican doll? Leave a comment @ ChellyWood.com

Image of African American doll with natural afro hair under a cap. Doll is wearing medieval garb.

Image: My “Soul” doll wearing her Benvolio costume, made and designed by me.

This is “Soul” from Hasbro’s World of Love doll collection. She has always been my favorite African American doll, even though she’s only moderately articulated.

Why do I love this doll so much? She brings me happy memories of my childhood! When I was growing up in the early 1970’s, dolls who really looked African American were unheard-of. True, they had Barbies who were dark complected, but their hair was straight and their features looked identical to the white Barbies.

Soul had a gorgeous afro, very chocolaty skin (unlike what was available at that time), and truly African-looking features. Her authentic beauty left me captivated, and I would stare at her sometimes, just taking in her amazing design and lovely visage. When casting roles for the stories I would create with my Barbies, I always chose Soul for the starring roles. She was my heroine and my muse.

Fast forward to the 21st century… I’ve chosen Soul to star as Benvolio in my Barbie/Momoko version of Romeo and Juliet. At first, I really, really wanted to cast her as my Juliet, of course. But as I said before, she’s only moderately articulated. Her joints move at the waist, shoulders, and hips, with a head that turns side-to-side and knees that click. Sadly, that’s not enough articulation for the starring role in a stop-motion film. Therefore, I had to seek another doll for the lead role in my show.

Still, Benvolio’s role in Romeo and Juliet is a crucial one. He gets lots of lines, and he’s a key player in the fencing scenes. And honestly, I don’t think Soul minds being cast as a male character. She pulls it off quite well, being an experienced actress and all. 😉

So in honor of the timeless Martin Luther King Junior, leave a comment — it can even be a detailed one — on the African American doll you love most. Why do you love that particular doll? Is it unique? Does it have a history you can share? Be sure and tell us the official name of the doll, so others who read this post can google it and learn more about it. Offer a link, if possible. Thanks for your comments!

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