Ikuzi Dolls Represent All Cultures and Races
Ozi Okaro, Founder of Ikuzi Dolls, explains how her experience shopping for dolls for her daughter led her to start her own line of dolls that represent girls of all skin tones and ethnicity.
"Welcome back to Life & Living. You know, young people are empowered when they see themselves reflected in the world in which they live. Which is why Ozi Okaro created Ikuzi Dolls. Welcome to the program. Thank you. Your dolls are right here. What inspired you to create these dolls? So my two daughters inspired me. They're now 12 and 10. They inspired me to create the line of dolls of color. Now we were very frustrated with what was out there in the market in terms of representation and dolls of color. So we would go shopping, and we'd find that there'd be only one doll that was black. And that doll would come in one shade of brown. Now my girls are two different shades of brown. So imagine the frustration that they felt, and I felt as a mother. I had a similar experience when I was younger as well. So that's how Ikuzi dolls was born. I've always been very passionate about buying toys and things that they see themselves in that reflect them, and this was a frustration. So I decided that this was something I would do. What do you see in your girls when they're playing with a doll that looks like them? That reflects who they are? It's priceless. Not only them, but other customers have really sent... have loved our dolls and have sent emails, and a lot of feedback about their children playing with our dolls and loving them, and saying, "Oh mom, this doll is beautiful, and this doll looks exactly like me, and I think it's very important for them to see themselves reflected in dolls and toys." They're role playing now, but in the future, being able to look at a doll now and say the doll is beautiful, that really helps them with their self esteem as they grow up, to know that they are also very beautiful in every way God made them. And on the other side of that, do you think it hurts a girl's self esteem when she doesn't see herself reflected. If you go into a store and you see a sea of white dolls, right? And there isn't one who reflects your skin tone and your shade, what does that do? Yes. From my experience, growing up, I loved dolls obviously. I had many many white dolls, I only had one black doll. And it made me not think of myself as beautiful. And want to look a different... be a different race. That affected me, and that's why I felt it was very important to give my daughters something else. I wanted them to have choices. And I'm sure that happens to many other..."