While out of town in 2017, my sister sent me a video of my daughter, Mariah, saying that she did not like her brown skin. She was just 4 years old at the time and I was heartbroken. As the video continued, she said it was because the "peach" dolls had more "stuff" meaning accessories, than the brown dolls. Once I returned from my trip, I was on a quest to show her that her brown skin was beautiful and that she was special just as she was. Over the years, I made it a point to find and buy items that featured black characters and images. The one thing that I consistently noticed was that I could not just casually walk into a retail store and see products that looked like me or my daughter, unless it was apart of a Black History Month collection. I even recall going into a retail store to buy a doll for Mariah and on an aisle of filled with dolls, there was just one black doll on the shelf. That one doll did not come with the bells and whistles like the others, and I immediately thought of Mariah.
Although there have been more initiatives by stores to become more inclusive, it's just not enough. I wanted to see more, we needed to see more of ourselves, so I decided to embark on this journey that is now Pretty Dope Society.
Together, Mariah and I are creating the products that we want and need to see in our everyday life. It is my hope that our products continue to help black kids (and adults) feel represented and that no child ever feels the way Mariah felt just a few years ago.
Photo Credit: Charlotte Observer