With a pop­u­la­tion of 300,000 the Unit­ed King­dom holds the sec­ond largest num­ber (behind the Unit­ed States) of Jamaicans liv­ing out­side Jamaica. Still, the black doll mar­ket is under­de­vel­oped, with most shipped in from the Unit­ed States. UK-Jamaican teacher Saf­fron Jack­son decid­ed to do some­thing about this after fail­ing to find a doll for her infant daugh­ter.

“All the black dolls I have seen were from Amer­i­ca, and most of them were either ugly or not to my lik­ing. I thought, why not cre­ate my own doll?” 

On Novem­ber 24 Jack­son released a Jamaican-patois speak­ing doll named Toya, the first from her Zuree doll line. When squeezed Toya says Jamaican phras­es includ­ing ‘Wah gwaan?’ (What’s up?), ‘Weh yaa seh?’ (How are you doing?), ‘Wha hap­pen?’ (What’s hap­pen­ing?) and ‘Me name Toya, and me a wah Zuree Doll from the beau­ti­ful island of Jamaica.’ (My name is Toya and I’m a Zuree Doll from the beau­ti­ful island of Jamaica.) See the adorable doll in action here;

In an inter­view with Jamaican news­pa­per The Star Jack­son said she hopes Toya helps black girls see their beau­ty;

“The idea behind this is to show lit­tle girls that regard­less of their skin tone or hair tex­ture, they’re indeed beau­ti­ful. Hence, the name Zuree. It come from Swahili, and it means beau­ti­ful.”

Jack­son has received more than 400 orders since the launch, and the Zuree Face­book page has more than 3,400 likes. Orders are com­ing from all over the world;

“Peo­ple love that it speaks Jamaican. I’ve been get­ting sales from Aus­tralia, Esto­nia, Ams­ter­dam, Ger­many, and all these places, which show there is a mas­sive demand for our cul­ture… My phone went off lit­er­al­ly non-stop.”


This is absolute­ly adorable. We are SO here for this!

You can find out more about Toya and the Zuree doll line here.

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noel­liste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop cul­ture and black beau­ty enthu­si­ast. bell hooks’ hair twin…

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3 Comments on "New Jamaican Patois-Speaking Doll Takes Off in the UK"

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I just want to know how to bye these dolls this is like a dream come true for me an my gran daughters.please make action men as well,this is beau­ti­ful.


Wait, a Jamaican patois-speak­ing dol­ly? Weh yaa seh?! Love it!… er, I mean… Big up to the dol­ly mas­sive!


This is so beau­ti­ful. I love the Jami­a­can patois.