With the Black Doll Affair, a timeless toy becomes a useful tool for building African-American girls’ self-esteem.
Growing up in a society that too often idealizes physical features — long blond hair, for example — they do not typically possess, generations of African-American girls have struggled with self-image.
This struggle can begin at a very young age — and often plays out in the choices black girls make when selecting one of the quintessential symbols of girlhood: a doll. A 2007 episode of “Oprah” showcased the captivating mini-documentary “A Girl Like Me,” which shows several black children giving clear preference to white dolls and consistently labeling black ones as “bad.”
Inspired in part by what she saw on that episode, Dana Hill founded The Black Doll Affair — a self-esteem movement for little girls of color. Specifically designed for African-Americans, the movement has spread throughout the country; several states now have their own “Ambassadolls,” who are empowered to establish individual chapters.
Tamela Ketchmore was recently named Ambassadoll for Nevada, and she is on a mission to encourage young girls.
“I have been collecting Barbie dolls for over 25 years, and one day I was online and came across the Black Doll Affair website — and it inspired me to help establish a Black Doll Affair chapter here in Las Vegas,” she said. “After a rigorous interviewing and background check process, I was selected as Ambassadoll for the state of Nevada. The Black Doll Affair teaches young girls how to love themselves and their image — which results in confidence and leadership qualities.”
Aimed at girls ages 3-12, The Black Doll Affair uses fun, innovative and often unconventional methods to reach their target audience.
“We organize events that inspire our young girls — because for so many years, our children have grown up displaying behaviors of low self-esteem,” said Ketchmore. “So, we have some powerful black women we call The Dolls, who help mentor our young black girls. We will hold a Barbie Doll Party at the Lions Club in North Las Vegas on Dec. 5 — where we will come dressed up in our finest clothes, along with our young girls who will be celebrated with a doll party. We will be giving away dolls that encourage self-love. We will give away Barbie dolls, along with party packets. There will be chandeliers, and we have planned a very nice, elegant time for the girls.”
For more information, call Tamela Ketchmore at (702) 203-6683 and visit BlackDollAffair.com.