QUEENS OF AFRICA

Hey Everyone,
So I decided to do something different today!
The Queens of Africa Project is an initiative by Taofick Okoya.
Taofick who has a young daughter, found that there was a gap in the market…
There were no dolls that were specifically made for the young African child..he set out to change that and the Queens of Africa project was born…
I am sooo in love with this concept….it makes me happy that new generations of Nigerian/African girls will be able to play with dolls that are more reflective of their culture and image.
The project extends beyond dolls making to story books, music and philantrophy.
LUV IT!
Check out pics of the dolls, some pics from the launch event and some other info…
Don’t you just luv their little outfits?

WURAOLA

NNEKA

AZEEZAH

LAUNCH EVENT

TRUE LOVE WA FEATURE


The Website & The MySpace Page

I think you can purchase the dolls online using paypal (I suggest you email them first though) – HERE

So what do you think of the project? The dolls? Their outfits? Let us know! Have a fab day…Ciao

77 Comments on QUEENS OF AFRICA
  • Abi March 20, 2007 at 8:14 am

    Yay!!! I’m first..
    Aww..the dolls are so cute…ok have to go back and read the other stuff…lol

  • LondonBuki March 20, 2007 at 9:54 am

    Really Nice Idea… Love the cute trad! :-)

  • tatafo! March 20, 2007 at 10:38 am

    That’s really nice! How can we get some? I should start collecting them for my future daughters now :p

  • Dimples March 20, 2007 at 11:19 am

    Oh how cute…totally loving them..a big change from Black Barbie.

  • Mona March 20, 2007 at 11:22 am

    hehehehe – really cute

  • Wordsbody March 20, 2007 at 11:27 am

    Interesting, I’m running into friends in the most unexpected places these days. Taofeek’s lovely wife, Lola, is a friend from the longest time & an aunty to my kids. The doll ‘Azeezah’ is named after Taofeek & Lola’s daughter, who is the cutest, cleverest little girl you’ll ever see. Lola recently gave birth to the couple’s second child, a baby boy.

    MW

    ps: this is my second attempt to leave this comment, so apologies if the ‘lost’ 1st comment bounces in!

  • Daddy's Girl March 20, 2007 at 12:49 pm

    Very cute. Nice idea, hope it succeeds.

  • yankeenaijachick March 20, 2007 at 1:27 pm

    Wow……….the dolls are very cute. That’s a nice ideal by the guy. He has a great mind set and l wouldn’t mind having one either.lol

  • tiwalade March 20, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    I think it’s a fantastic idea. It’s really lovely to see good dolls, not like them very-very-fake-made-in-china-plastic dolls, that represents the african culture. It’s something to be very proud of. And the the clothes are cool but I think too traditional. Give them some funky hairstlyles and funky ankara designs.

  • tiwalade March 20, 2007 at 2:00 pm

    Actually on a second look, the clothes are quite cool, traditionally funky.

  • BOBBY March 20, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    I love it. I love it and its a great concept…
    Its about time…and you know what, if its marketed well, i bet you folks from all over the world would want an ‘African’ doll for their girl chil’rens.

  • naijagal March 20, 2007 at 2:43 pm

    I am loving the dolls they are so cute! Great post bella. This brings about a positive spin on Africa

  • My Talking Beginnings March 20, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    Finally, someone with money is doing something worthwile….the ideas have been around for ages. Only hope this feeds off to other ideas and a better Nigeria…if that makes any sense!!

  • Philomena March 20, 2007 at 3:03 pm

    So much for promoting a positive self image of the african female.. hmph… why then have the dolls all got white folks hair … bone straight and long… Who are we kidding?

    Also didn’t fail to notice that the dolls all have big breasts, tiny waist and eternally long legs… and of course the pointed nose.

    Good on him for make some more cheese for himself, but no one should come up in here and try to make him out to be some sort of messiah. I’d rather buy my children a barbie anyday.

  • Bunnylish March 20, 2007 at 3:18 pm

    Afraid I agree with Philomena on this one.. the dolls look like Babie with african clothes on…would have been a whole lot more convincing if they had big butts and broader noses….but hey, at least he tried….

  • temmy tayo March 20, 2007 at 3:24 pm

    I think it is a good idea on his part. I am sure with some fine tuning he will get the real African figure without the hair.

    A good trial.

  • Anonymous March 20, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    hmm. its a good idea…but seriously, how many nigerians have slanted eyes? those dolls look like westerns dolls in traditional garb.

  • Anonymous March 20, 2007 at 4:15 pm

    hahaha i guess other people captured my sentiments already. i want my kids playing with dolls that look like them… not slanted eyed, “white” featured baring dolls.

  • Anonymous March 20, 2007 at 5:02 pm

    NONSENSE.
    YEAH NICE IDEA.BUT ARENT THE DOLLS STILL BARBIE DOLLS DIPPED IN CHOCOLATE?
    WHAT HAPPENED TO GIVING THE DOLLS “BLACK FEATURES”?
    broad nose,fuller lips,thicker bodies?
    these are just broke down brown barbie dolls now?
    one even had oyinbo like hair sef.
    my eyes did not see anyone with a bloody AFRO.a lot of black kids,arent BORN with hair wey dem don weave etc now…we start with afro like hair and then grow it into different things.
    LET OUR KIDS IDENTIFY WITH THAT.

    thats why barbie comes with silky hair..oyinbo dey get am.

    give the bloody dolls natchy black hair,then ill know thats something.
    for now,i see dolls,dressed in african attire with different hair “extensions” and white features.

    BUT TAOFICK IS UNTO SOMETHING ON THE OTHER HAND.

    ED

  • Desola March 20, 2007 at 5:16 pm

    I absolutely love it! I wouldn’t mind getting hold of one for my little neice though. I think this concept if bound to succeed in th west more than in africa – you know Africans still have the ‘colo-mentality’.

  • Anonymous March 20, 2007 at 5:48 pm

    pls i love all the dolls jare…and yeah they didnt have broader noses or nothing nut at least he tried..the dolls r all very very pretty and thats good….wat do u guys want him to do? run before he can crawl…good job to him jare!

  • tp March 20, 2007 at 6:02 pm

    stunning. this makes me happy.

  • Lolita March 20, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    Love, Love, love them! Those dolls are adorable! Their noses are not pointed; they are small and slightly rounded.

    Philomena, and others who may not know, I am pure Naija, no adulteration, and I have big breasts, a teeny tiny waist and eternally long legs, even complete with the slanted eyes, all natural, so leave that one alone….! (the description was necessary)

    The dolls are gorgeous and I see myself in them, even Azeezah, I remember when my parents dressed us up in the Fulani outfit with the mirrors in the tops, simply lovely!

    Please, when do they arrive States Side?

  • Lolita March 20, 2007 at 6:16 pm

    Excuse me, the doll with the Fulani outfit was Wuraola :)

  • tp March 20, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    for those individuals knocking the idea on the basis that it’s not true-to-life enough for your sentiments, you might like to consider that there are other adjoining materials (books, etc.) that accentuate the dolls so it’s not exclusively about the dolls; in fact, the dolls appear to be a launching pad for a broader cultural infiltration & efforts are clearly being made in that direction.

    there’s room for improvement, as with most other things, but i think it’s unfair to dismiss his idea as a fluke simply because the features of his dolls are not perfected or completely finetuned. i think it’s commendable and more of these initiatives should (and must) be brought to the fore.

    the dolls themselves may or may not be revolutionary – that’s not my issue. i don’t know of any disadvantages that have accrued to me as a result of my playing with a white barbie doll but i can most definitely see how/why playing with a brown one (and they ARE brown! give him that much credit) could’ve given me a more realistic notion of my culture and invariably, myself. if he does with Queens of Africa what Barbie has done with their brand (barbie houses, cars, basically a whole package), the potential for spreading cultural awareness and values (something so markedly lacking in nigeria today where we learn more about western cultures than we do our own) is remarkable.

  • Anonymous March 20, 2007 at 6:27 pm

    i thought this video might interest some people:

    http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=2553348&page=1

  • Anonymous March 20, 2007 at 6:28 pm

    im black too,with fulani blood sef,as yellow as they come,long ass hair,all the fulanish traits,but i am built like most black women.thick in all the correct places.because i am black.not this lepa syndrome.THOSE DOLLS LOOK LIKE THEY NEED A MEAL MEN.my younger sisters on the other hand,all happen to be a mix of different things.but all in all,we dont identify with any of those dolls i see.APART FROM THE OUTFITS AND ONE OR TWO HAIRSTYLES.my 4 year old niece,who is as naija as they come,and if i look through her eyes,she is nothing like those dolls.
    go to the web page of the dolls,what do we see?
    mission statement saying that they are trying to shift away from the “barbie concept”(gist of the story not word for word of course.)
    yet its still the same thing,but different colors.
    something for african girls to identify with.
    and we all know africans come in a variety of shades,colors,hair textures etc.
    BUT at the same time,how many african girls have bangs in their hair?
    i think what philomena and i are trying to say is that,if collectively we all look at the dolls,we shouldnt be able to question it.but say YES,THESE TRULY REPRESENT THE AFRICAN GIRL,THE BLACK CHILD,
    enough of all these long silky hair,etc MAKES US BEAUTIFUL.
    BUT good on taofick at least ITS A BIG STEP FORWARD.

  • Anonymous March 20, 2007 at 6:31 pm

    some of the dolls are available online. please visit the website/link below for more details:

    http://www.queensofafrica.net/store.htm

  • RJ March 20, 2007 at 6:43 pm

    I love it when I see that people in Naija are stepping up, I almost want to cry every time.
    Those dolls are really nice; did anyone notice that in the very first picture, the girl in the middles hairstyle is thread? LOVE IT….haven’t seen that in ages. He just needs a little promotion and I bet the sky would be his limit.

    As for Anonymous, what the heck are “black features?” Not every black child has those features you mentioned….I have a slim somewhat pointed nose, nice lips and a slim body and no white in my family that I can think of, does that classify me as having “white features”? The threaded hair isn’t enough for you? She just has to have a damn afro, while we are at it why don’t we have one that wears a dashiki and wears rings round her neck. You think white kids (Barbie) are born with a damn 2 piece on and long flowing hair? Or ken is born with nice abs? Nothing is ever good enough for you people

    BTW Bella, does he make male dolls too?

  • azuka March 20, 2007 at 6:47 pm

    Great stuff! I always thought all those blue-eyed dolls were creepy — but that might be because I watched Chocky.

  • Anonymous March 20, 2007 at 6:54 pm

    I CANT STAND NIGERIANS!!!…Y DO WE PUT DOWN EACH OTHER SO MUCH??? SUM1 TRIES 2 MAKE AN EFFORT 2 PROMOTE D AFRICAN WOMAN ND HERE Y’ALL R GOIN OF ON… O! D DOLLS R 2 SLIM, DEY HAVE WEAVES ON..BLA BLA BLA. IM SURE IF HE MADE THE DOLLS HAVE NAPPY HAIR ND FAT ULD STILL BE COMPLAININ RYT?? HOW MANY AFRICAN WOMEN DO U ACTUALLY SEE WIT NAPPY HAIR, NO WEAVE, OR IS BALD? OR DONT AFRICAN WOMEN STRIVE 2 B SLIM 2? U GUYS TALKIN, R Y’ALL BALD OR SUMTN OR ABI UR FAT..WHICH 1?? PLZ WEN U OR UR FATHER DECIDES 2 CUM OUT ND MAKE SUMTN AS PRODUCTIVE AS WAT D GUY IS DOIN, U CAN THEN TALK AS 4 NOW…PLEASE HUSH IT

  • Ladybrille March 20, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    I love the dolls. Naija [Nigeria] also has lepa [slim girls], lots of them, and they are naturally that way as they possess high metabolism. I am one of them and know more lepas or lepa shandis, however you want to call it. Not every African woman fits the stereotype of thickness, sorry. The sentiments that the hair should be Afros rather than straight hair? Interesting. In real life, I know and see lots of African women with perms in their hair to get the silkier straight “white” hair abi na trend? The hair extensions and weaves are also still very much in demand; like long straight silky hair. To me, the dolls are indeed more reflective of Naija society, irrespective of social class. I would like the manufacturers to consider braided hairstyles. That’s still very common and showcases more diverse hair styles. Conceptually, great prouct. Marketability, with the right intelligence, will do great. Most importantly, I think a big hats off to someone who is promoting his own clothing and fabrics, hiring all those workers in the video clip and creating jobs for those in the village that will be churning out more fabrics [Aso oke, Adire, Woodin and more ]so we can create a better economy and a stronger Fashion Industry. Abeg carry on jare.

  • Tutsy March 20, 2007 at 7:06 pm

    Loved the dolls!!! absolutely gorgeous….Toafik did an excellent job, got to give the guy due props on this one,….it was a stunner!!!.
    Now i understand some other people’s arguement on the whole “straight hair” and “pointed nose” features on the dolls…but guys look at it this way….at least Mr Okoya made an effort. Prior to his new invention i have never heard or seen a doll targeted towards the African market….in which young girls of African descent can almost relate to. So for that alone i say he deserves a big freaking Ovation. Yes, there is room for improvement and yes, the dolls might not resemble the typical African child but hell, he tried!!! At least he had the guts to come up with something. I am not condeming any one for critizing his work all i’m saying is we could be a little less harsh with our words.
    On a lighter note Bella, great post as usual, keep them coming girl….you’re the best thing to ever happen to bloggerville!!!!

  • Anonymous March 20, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    ya’ll are silly. if tries to bring naija culture, you then find minute details to judge some more. nothing is ever good enough?

    and yo umake it seem as if all naija women look the same. I actually have slanted eyes, pointy nose, etc. some of my naija girlfriends dont, some do. You fail to realise that our gene pool is so large and diverse that we encompass all types of features, from kinky to straight hair, short to tall, skinny to robust, chinko eyes to big anf round ones. and if you want to argue, european features have branched off african features… we were the first. so lets not limit ourselves.

  • damsel in the desert March 20, 2007 at 8:24 pm

    When I first looked at the dolls, I didn’t notice the straight hair, pointed nose or the alleged caucasian looking feature… My eye saw black features and lovely Naija clothes.

    To those people bringing those points up, seems to me that you are the ones who get intimidated by the Western idea of the perfect figure since it was the first thing you saw.

    My first feeling when I read the post was joy and pride for a Nigerian having a great idea, implementing it and creating something relevant and nice for the Nigerian market. Kudos to Taofik. He did great.

    Please don’t mind all the haterz in the house. Give the guy credit at least!

    I want to collect some for myself… they’ll be great!

  • Wale March 20, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    very cool.

  • zaiprincesa March 20, 2007 at 9:30 pm

    oooh….nice. I likey!.Y didnt they have these dolls when i was growing up??..Maybe then i wont have been upset cus my hair and skin color didnt look like barbie’s..lol.

  • Dee March 20, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    Omigod! coming from a barbie doll collector …i am soooo thrilled to see these dolls….i think they look so BEAUTIFUL…i love their outfits…their hairstyles…sigh**…i really can’t wait to order one!….and err…wassup with pple always trying to rain on other people’s parade???..THEY ARE DOLLS!.how REAL do you want them to look?…As far as i am concerned they captured the beautiful essence of a nigerian girl..and im loving that..i dont identify with what philomena thinks is african…does that make me any less african?

  • Beyond March 20, 2007 at 10:42 pm

    This is very creative and cool.

  • Messenger623 March 20, 2007 at 11:10 pm

    I love the concept… i’ll definately get a few for my daughter…

    on another note.. since when did it become normal for an hostess abi nah interviewer to be lounging like dat… who is this kemi adetiba sef … the phonee and her posture were a big turn off for me…
    Just like we’re trying to initiate this new cultural awareness – naija TV shows ought to hire people that speak good english without trying so hard to sound foreign…. btw .. wtf IS toafick… Who put C in taofiki… 9ja people don kill me…

  • STREETBRAND March 20, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    This is a fantastic concept and the dolls are just so adorable. It’s great to see that young girls can finally play with dolls that look more like them and not the blonde eyed blue haired concept of western beauty. Ok, so these dolls are like a size zero and the ones I’ve seen all have straight and perfect hair; still perpetuating the beauty myth in a way. I’d love to see some big boned dolls – you know – a lot of African queens are not all ultra thin women. I’d love to see the dolls with some kinky afro hair; let them represent for us nappy haired sistas! Still I’m loving the concept; it’s nice to see something making a difference, in its own little way.

  • Anonymous March 21, 2007 at 12:31 am

    This is a link to curvacious dolls….the women who created them felt that they weren’t being represented in the doll industry…i believe that all the pple complaining about the size of the dolls should do something about it…taofeek has chosen to focus on streamlined dolls….that is his vision…so its up to you to do something about yours…lol frankly if ma momsi had given me a FAT doll to play with i would have broken it ha ha…

    *http://www.bbdolls.com/dasia.html

  • Anonymous March 21, 2007 at 12:37 am

    i have noticed how we Nigerians love to share our own “opinions” on how the world SHOULD BE….i really wish we could step out and DO SOMETHING rather than pull down those who are making steps…however small they may be….That comment about Kemi Adetiba was just sorta HARSH…i think she is doing a great job and frankly i am proud of her (i dont know her o – but i respect her gangsta for getting her own show on mnet(im not sure if that info is right…if it isnt…well then for being On a show on mnet)…i HAVE noticed that newscasters in Nigeria have that “accent” but i have chosen to ignore it…so far i can understand her when she speaks …I’m good.

  • Anonymous March 21, 2007 at 1:03 am

    @MESSENGER623..LOL!!u are funny,u just killed it men.leave kemi to blow her “phone” oh.its not easy nah.

  • SOLOMONSYDELLE March 21, 2007 at 1:40 am

    The dolls are pretty and considering the fact that there are few dolls representing Nigerian culture and beauty, I am all for it. My daughter isn’t really into dolls, but I’d get one for her anyway.

    As for all the comments about the features, well, I guess you can’t please everybody. Let us simply congratulate the makers on their effort. The dolls, regardless of what you think, are pretty. I wish the makers success.

  • Bitchy March 21, 2007 at 2:32 am

    Oh wow! I love love love! Definitely ordering a couple for myself. They’re miles better than my “Nigerian Barbie” by Mattel. Yes, I have no shame.

    P.S. Thanks for the Blog Plug the other day Xx

  • truth March 21, 2007 at 3:27 am

    Aawwh.Some of y’all were amazingly critical…at least Taofeek knows where to look for future product development ideas.
    I have slanted eyes so I definitely don’t support any critic of that feature.The hair texture is most definitely a reflection of y’allz(lol)so don’t expect an imagery of what is not the norm,even among most nigerian kids.
    I sure wish I thought of this great entrepreneural concept.lol.

    Bella your head must really swell whenever you get fab comments on a good post.go sidon jere.lol.

  • Philomena March 21, 2007 at 10:50 am

    This guy is just trying to get PAID fullstop… a shrewd business move! This product is geared primarily towards the bourgeoisie.

    I’ll say it again forget all that talk about helping African children improve their self image… at the end of the day… it is only a child that has eaten three square meals, has access to clean water, sanitation, education and a roof over their head that can dream of owning one of these dolls. For most African children owning a doll is the ultimate luxury.

    Before anyone comes to talk to me about helping the African child improve their self image they should talk about helping African children from dying needlessly from curable diseases each and every second of the day… talk about giving them a free education… talk about giving them shelter… access to clean water…. when those basics have been sorted out then we can begin to talk of self image. Most African children have never even seen a mirror, so what do they care about self image!!!! They are too busy fleeing conflict, starving to death, dealing with rape, mourning the loss of parents who have died of AIDS.

    So give me a damn break already!

  • ebel March 21, 2007 at 12:28 pm

    I loove this concept. I am soo loving it, will def. buy some for my daughter. I was just wondering if there are some w/the full on Niger attire, maybe something conventional?

    P.S

    Bela i love your blog-spot, very inspirational, educational and funny too. Keep it up girl, you make us proud.

  • Lolita March 21, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Philo, every good business plan has a vision and a goal, if it is a product, it has to have a target audience.

    I hear your argument but I don’t know anyone, unless it is a charity, even charities sef, who goes into business without plans for profit.

    If the dolls are being produced in Nigeria, from start to finish, then that creates jobs.
    This is not the first ethnic doll to ever be produced, Barbie has done a few and there are more being produced in the US, Dora etc.

    This is one created by Nigerians for Nigerians fubu-like! It is not a new idea but he had the wherewithal to put it into effect and I hope it goes a long way.

  • Dammie March 21, 2007 at 5:15 pm

    Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!

  • Confessions of a moody Crab March 21, 2007 at 5:35 pm

    Wat do pple mean by African/ black features? There is NOTHING like African or black feature. Stop being essentialist in your views. Algerians, Libyans, Moroccocans and so on are all african and they hardly have some of the features mentioned. Then talk abt pple from Mauritius, Seychelle, Cape Verde and so on.

    Africa is a very complex continent emcompassing different colours and features. So please stop all these talks abt the dolls not having “african/black features”

  • Bluntremi March 21, 2007 at 6:10 pm

    I think the dolls are great – honestly!

    However, just as with everything else in the world, there is going to be a debate about this and it is to be understood. We are not all the same. Some people are as skinny as a pin, they eat their hearts out and can’t gain weight (trust me I have fed some of them, so I know!!). Some people are a bit rounder and if they eat a certain way, they will put on weight! It’s their metabolism, accept it and move on. Haven’t we realized yet that this is just the way we are??? DIFFERENT!! People need to remember that no two people are alike. An afro may define some Africans, but some people have to get a weave to get their hair to look like that (yes the afro weave!!), whereas for others it is natural. Just as straight hair is natural for some and not for others…

    Remember it was his idea and his vision. He is entitled to make it how he sees fit. If you want to make a different one, then go right ahead. But give the person who did this, the kudos he deserves.

    Another great post Bella ?

  • BOBBY March 21, 2007 at 6:12 pm

    I am surprised at a lot of the negative comments but whatever.

    I think that the dolls are amazing, i dont see anything WHITISH about them…I see THREADED Hair, i mean, common nowww…I see the beads and i see the attires and i think “Naija Dolls”

    If you were a business man, how many of you out there, would make a doll with Gorimapa and huge buttocks and what not. I am a big boned female, but lets be real, IT WILL NOT SELL and these folks have gotta make their change.

    I saw the bbd website (big boned doll website), i am sorry, those dolls look OBESE to me.

    And if you dont like the dolls, then make yours the way you see it perfect…and watch how many folks will criticize you just as you have criticized these guys…

    Its all good…its in our nature to criticize one another…the more insults you get for trying to do something positive…the more likely to succeed you are.

  • Philomena March 21, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    Moody Crab there is nothing essentialist about the views shared on this topic. I for one will speak for myself and say my views are entirely pragmatic.

    One… the population of Sub-Saharan Africa far outweighs that of North Africa. Two… given that the dolls were designed by a Nigerian, and last time i checked Nigeria was still in Sub-Saharan Africa… it is safe to presume that the kind of Africans he was referring to are the kinds by and large with kinky afro hair, broad noses, big behinds… hips… and dark eyes.

    If your argument is that we as Africans are wildly differentiated in our features and colours… as opposed to being a monolithic society… then please tell me… WHY THE HELL DO THESE DOLLS ALL LOOK THE FRIGGIN SAME? And more important, WHY DO THEY ALL LOOK LIKE A CHEAP ASS VERSION OF BARBIE.

    No variation whatsoever… just the same all Tracy Bingham nasty ass pencil thin eyebrows, Dolly Parton boobs, Gisele legs, Adriana Lima waist and Kim Kardashian hair! Wake up y’all…These dolls are nothing more than a mere representation of the male fantasy…

    Ironically, instead of helping the so called children of Africa improve their self image, it will only destroy it further by reinforcing the widely held view that Caucasian beauty (i.e bone straight/glossy hair, a pointed noses etc.) is the ideal standard that we must all aspire to.

  • Si'Jour March 21, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    Wow! Never heard of this one, but it’s awesome!!!

    Totally totally love the dolls and their cute lil outfits!!!

  • Anonymous March 21, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    @ philomena…Taofeek is not trying to change the world luv…he is just trying to make dolls….so relax…..since you are so passionate about it …GO INTO THE DOLL MAKING BUSINESS!

  • Naija Dreams March 21, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    Outstanding ..love the dolls !
    pop over to my blog when you get a chance :)

  • Chi March 22, 2007 at 12:03 am

    I pray that Taofick Okoya’s dolls go far. The guy has tried and at least he started something for the young kids in Naija.God bless him and his family.

  • Amara March 22, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    See people dey “oh” and “ah” over doll baby. :rolleyes:

  • Anonymous March 22, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    Amara your comment is priceless :-)

  • Anonymous March 23, 2007 at 3:25 pm

    I love the dolls! Why can’t we just appreciate!
    One step at a time, for now the dolls are black and wear African clothes! so next step.. they will have big asses, nice rounded noses and kinky afros!

  • Kpakpando March 23, 2007 at 8:39 pm

    If you will continue to buy Barbie for your kids, then clap for yourself, and let others who always wanted an option like this be happy.

    Not all Nigerians are thick or can even get their hair to Afro up; some of us have “slanted” eyes and virtually no hips, we’re not the borg, we won’t all look alike. Some little girl in Nigeria will look just like this doll, other won’t. After all barbie isn’t representative of all white women.

    Can we put down the black power fist for just a second and appreciate the effort.

  • Anonymous March 29, 2007 at 8:44 am

    i am truly ammazed at the level of criticisms. i had kinky hair for a while and i know the number of comments and strange looks i got. this means that kinky is not the norm. so why are dolls with sleek hair the issue here? how many females do we know with kinky hair? the fact that you play with a doll does not mean you want to look like that doll. what makes you want to be like the doll is the story and life the dollmakers have built around the dolls.

    barbie is such a success not because of her looks but becos of the various storylines built around her which makes little girls want to be like her.

    this is what i beleive queens of africa is trying to create with a storyline for the dolls. it is the story that makes the dolls positive role models not their straight / slanted har. To be honest, i am not sure kids would even notice slanted eyes. they are not as prejudiced like us adults. (by the way, my niece has eyes just like that)

    finally, to the person who said african children need food etc. i agree with you but guess what, in this world therer are different types of people with different needs. some children dont need this positive model thing (or rather they dont even realise there is such a concept) but some children need. i suspect that is the target market. and trust me every product is designed for the needs of a group of people not the whole population.

    To taofick – Good work. follow your dreams and vision. pay attention to the criticism, you may gain one/2 insights but dont let it put you down.

  • gini March 29, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    wow, this is soo cool, i happen to be working on this project just for the idea and message behind the song queens of africa, i think its a fantastic idea, but like every other great idea, there are negative people that dont think things like this should exist.
    however its great to see that other people differ, maybe they can bring other informative educating and entertaing concepts to the table, taofick’s idea is absolutely fantastic and if it doent not have an impact now on the closed minds it will on somebody they know, may be their kids or family. in yoruba, there is that saying, o le te aiye lorun, meaning you cant satisfy everybody in the world,but who wants to anyway, in life take the lessons you need that other people profide and move on.use to your best advantage. i love the queens of africa, i personally feel there where real girls with these values and message. most girls are lost in the western world ideaologies.i think our younger ones will have less issues to deal with when they get older.teach brother fick teach…lol

  • taoficko March 30, 2007 at 1:46 pm

    A big THANK YOU to Bella Naija (Look fwd to knowing you), and to all those who took time out to comment thank you (i really do mean all).Stumbled across this blog and i must say, i am so happy i did.
    The Queens of Africa started as a business, but has fast moved to be a project to empower the Nigerian/African girl child.
    Unaguably this first set of the dolls have caucasian features and this was delibrate. The children have being exposed to blond hair blue eyed dolls for so many years, to suddenly throw dolls at them that are a direct opposite of what they are used to is bound to cause a resistance and we could loose the opportunity to reach them. During our research, we discovered majority of the kids prefer (and still prefare) white dolls to black dolls, and prefer the dolls in evening ware to traditional ware. The Queens of Africa dollls come in 3 complexion, the fairest(Nneka) is the fastest selling and the darkest (Azeezah) is the least selling. At various exibitions we took part in, We experienced thugs between mother and child. Mothers prefare the traditional ware but the kids want the evening ware and this includes my daughter. Several times she has asked me “what colour am i” i tell her black and you can see her disapointment on her face, i quickly tell her Black is beautiful, and she says white is beautiful too, and that she likes white. It’s understandable as all her favorite characters are white (Dora, little mermaid etc).
    Now, accepting their colour is the initial step and step by step change features on the dolls till what they see is a closer resemblance of themselves, they didn’t get there in one day, so it will take time.
    The queens of Africa’s goal of empowerment is hopped to be achieved via music, comics, and animation tv series along with the dolls,stressing on virtues, importance of education,,encouraging aspiration amongst girls in Nigeria/Africa. (some of us are not even aware of issues facing the girl child in Nigeria let alone Africa).
    The major benefactors at the end of the day are the girls whose parents can’t even afford to send them to school, with all the challenges they face society need to be there for them and trust me slim or fat is not the issue they dwell on, we all owe it to our children and the coming generation to help improve the future.
    Finally we are all entitled to our opinions and choice, and if it is barbie for some, good luck! It will not stop or hinder me, i have done more than sit in the comfort of my house complaining or making shalow comments.
    You all have been wonderful, Bella…hats off to you
    Cheers.
    Taofick

  • Julian April 2, 2007 at 10:38 am

    I wondered about the “western” shape of the dolls – especially their faces, but I see your logic, Taofick. It’s very sad, to me, that white is considered to be more attractive to African children than black. I’m white and English, and I feel that we in the West have a great deal to answer for in the way we have abused the rest of the world for our own purposes.

    I really hope your project is a great success – and may it contribute to a genuine pride in Africa’s culture and heritage.

    Looking forward to that music video!

  • Hot-Angel April 2, 2007 at 11:26 am

    This is wonderful. And im glad taofick thought of something like this. AmazING!!!!

  • Anonymous April 2, 2007 at 5:47 pm

    whatever you do you would get criticised and/or commended. see barbie, she has also changed over the years. Commendation makes us comfortable and criticism can make us better. sometimes its just born out of jealousy, however, take it in your stride. You are doing a good job, its YOUR idea and for those who have not conceived such yet, let alone acted, too bad, they can sit on their high horse and try to put you down. shame on them!!!!

    There is always room for improvement, in every aspect of our lives whether with inanimate dolls or in us as human beings. Have a good one on Funmi Iyanda’s show. Knock them out, think before you answer her questions, she has the tendency of jumping at you.

    Keep it up.

  • Anonymous April 2, 2007 at 5:49 pm

    whatever you do you would get criticised and/or commended. see barbie, she has also changed over the years. Commendation makes us comfortable and criticism can make us better. sometimes its just born out of jealousy, however, take it in your stride. You are doing a good job, its YOUR idea and for those who have not conceived such yet, let alone acted, too bad, they can sit on their high horse and try to put you down. shame on them!!!!

    There is always room for improvement, in every aspect of our lives whether with inanimate dolls or in us as human beings. Have a good one on Funmi Iyanda’s show. Knock them out, think before you answer her questions, she has the tendency of jumping at you.

    Keep it up.

  • Anonymous April 3, 2007 at 12:38 pm

    This is a response to Philo’s comments. believe it or not, not every Nigerian fits into the stereotypical image of broad nose, thick lips and wide hips. Back in the days we were made to believe we all looked the same…like golliwogs and mammys…. but as we “black” people got liberated we became aware of our diversity as a people…. our different shades of black/brown, our cultures, ethnicity, languages, beliefs, religion, nature and FEATURES!!!! All of these make up our psyche.
    Please liberate yourself,look at the bigger picture, stop hating and start celebrating.

  • Anonymous April 3, 2007 at 12:45 pm

    Philomeena,which one now? Taofick put his vision in motion and you critise him talking about poverty alleviation and all…. let me give you a heavy revvy (revelation)if that is your vision do something about it, but don’t knock someone else for running with their dreams. K?

  • Anonymous April 3, 2007 at 1:03 pm

    WELL DONE and CONGRATULATIONS!!
    thank you for taking the initiative on making black dolls, the comic and the Queens of Africa theme song which i heard on radio the other day about love, endurance and peace. These truly are values which need to be fed to our kids from a very tender age.
    I visited the QoA website, it was very ineresting for me as a parent and my daughter(she registered in the fan club. May God continue to feed you with awesome ideas.

  • Anonymous April 7, 2007 at 10:20 pm

    Taofick is really onto something, and as in all things it will only get better and better.. you gotta walk before you run… well done, BC

  • Mary U April 19, 2007 at 4:14 pm

    Reading through some of the comments above saddened me. I had thought a laudable project like the Queens of Africa would be celebrated considering what they stand for, but was quite shocked by some of the things written about them. However, the response of the QoA creator, Taofick was very encouraging. I’m happy to see he really does believe in what he’s doing. He responded in a very mature manner and his sense of focus did shine through. As a Nigerian, and also as a parent, I think the message that the Queens of Africa are trying to convey should be embraced. Keep it up brother, you have lots of supporters behind you!

  • Anonymous February 26, 2008 at 11:51 pm

    Ok, can some folks leave Philo’s point alone…haba!
    Is it a crime to have an opinion??
    And to those going on that they have chinese features, abeggggiii, make we hear word, even taofik’s youtube video didn’t show ANY child with chinese eyes or the other barbie features! So you’re in the minority, if indeed you exist at all…lol!
    The idea is a start, but can be improved on definately ….

  • x December 30, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    how do make the dolls their hair,the paint for their eyes and also the body stuructue?and why don’t you make queens of africa and their careers like doctors,president or even a singer and please create kings of africa for the girls to have more fun for acting scenes with the dolls and last try as much as possible to make doll houses.peace out!!!

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