Black Toys: Gifts for Play and Pride

Article excerpt

ONCE upon a time, African-American children could only wish for toys, games and dolls that positively depicted their cultural experience and mirrored their complexions and other features. But not anymore.

Today, Black-oriented toys share the shelves with other adorable, new and longstanding favorites that make the retaft toy industry a $14 billion giant. And in 1992, key toy mantffacturers, Blackowned toy companies and general-market chain stores, such as Toys 'R' Us, lead the way by offering a sackful of bedazzling, educational and enjoyable items created with African-American tots and teens in mind.

Whether you're looking for cuddly baby dolls, high-fashion model and celebrity athlete figures, or ethnically themed books and geography-related puzzles, there seems to be no end to the tide of colorful playtime items available this holiday season.

Among the top 1992 entries are Tyeo's Kenya doll, a 13" soft, brown beauty and Hasbros carefree Splash 'n Tan doll that tans when exposed to the sun.

Pretty fashion dolls pair up with equally handsome mates this year, too. Black-owned Olmee Corp.'s Kenteclothed Imani doll teams up with Menelik, a princely figure who asserts his ethnic pride through cultural garb and a contemporary haircut. Mattel Toys' Blaek-oriented Shani dolls--last year's trendy trio of dolls that bursted on the scene with various Black features--also welcome a male chum, Jamal. …