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.