Toys for Pride and Fun: Brown Dolls and Black Action Figures Make a Mellow Merry Christmas

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Brown dolls and Black action figures make a mellow Merry Christmas

BLACK parents have always been very creative at Christmas time. Making a little do a lot, they offered a homemade selection of beautiful brown toys for their little girls and boys.

Along with searching for the latest toy craze, Black parents were often on a double mission--to find the toy that everyone wanted and the toy that promoted healthy, positive images for their African-American children

In 1997, fortunately, that is not an impossible mission. For toy manufacturing is increasingly responsive to the growing Black consumer market. As a result, Black parents are e increasingly finding dolls, action figures, games and hooks that reflect the diversity of African-American culture.

Black-owned toy companies, key toy manufacturers and major retail chain stores, such as Toys R Us, lead the way by offering a wide selection of toys created with African-American tots and teens in mind.

In toyland today, Black is finally beautiful. All the dolls are beautiful and all the action figures are handsome. African American children can choose beautiful bouncing baby dolls with a range of spicy skin tones from mustard and cinnamon to deep persimmon and sweet chocolate.

Olmec Toys, the largest minority-owned toy company in America, is headquartered in Richmond, Va. Olmec is continuing its popular Princess Imani high-fashion doll line by introducing Imani Dance Lights. Little ones can make Imani dance by pressing together the dance levers on her back. She comes complete with flashing lights, jacket, skirt, cap, boots, micro headset, ring, comb, hair decoration and backstage pass. The company also offers a new Imani Let's Talk doll. Olmec provides a wide selection of dolls, action figures and other gift items aimed at African-American children.

Other favorites for doll lovers to watch for during the holiday season are Mattel's ever-popular Barbie in African-American versions. The Happy Holidays Barbie featured this holiday season is in its 10th anniversary edition and is offered in an African-American version. The Rainbow Brite doll collection by Up, Up & Away features a Sparkle Brite doll. Hasbro Products is predicting its Newborn Diaper Surprise and My Lickety Treats dolls will be hits with little girls.

Global Friends company adds a new African doll, Akua from Kenya, to its lineup, which includes three other Black dolls. Akua is featured in African dress with a gele-type hat.

If snakes, snails and puppy dog tails rule at your house, there are a number of toys aimed at keeping your busy boys content. Some of these toys do more than entertain--they entertain with a message. Castleberry Toys, Inc., in Farmington Hills, Mich., packages a whole drug-prevention learning program through its Supa Dupa Babee, who protects children from harm and urges them to fight back and not do drugs. The doll is aimed at preschool through sixth-grade children.

Olmec's offers Bronze Bombers, who are equipped with armor, and who also encourage children to do the right thing in the face of adversity. Hasbro Toy Group salutes the legendary Tuskegee Airmen with two dolls, a Tuskegee Fighter Pilot and a Tuskegee B-25 Bomber Pilot. Each figure wears authentic World War II gear.

Another action figure aimed at African-American children is the popular Omega-Man produced by Kansas-City, Kans.-based Omega 7 Comics. The Omega-Man Black superhero is a crime- and drug-fighter and is the first African-American action figure produced by an African-American comic book company. …