Sun | Dec 17, 2017

Island Dolls launch Keisha and Kelly Patois-Speaking Dolls

Published:Friday | November 24, 2017 | 12:00 AMRocheda Bartley
The range of Patois-Speaking Jamaican Reggae Dolls.
Professor Carolyn Cooper (left), Beverley Robotham-Reynolds and Courtney Greaves pose for a photo with the Patois Speaking Jamaican Reggae Dolls.
Courtney Greaves cuddles the Patois-Speaking Reggae Dolll during it launch on Wednesday.
JCDC medal winner for Drama just had to embrace the Miss Lou Doll.
Nicole McLaren-Campbell (right) in stitches as she listens to the talking Patois doll held by its creator Beverly Robotham-Reynolds.
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Island Dolls Plus Collection, has added a new line of cultural dolls to its assortment.

The Patois-Speaking Jamaican Reggae Dolls were officially launched on Wednesday at the Village Plaza on Constant Spring Road. The dolls are boasted to be true representations of the Jamaican culture.

Beverley Robotham-Reynolds, president of Island Dolls, and the mastermind behind the ethnic dolls, says she was inspired by the idea of merging the Miss Lou Dolls with her natural hair culture dolls.

"I was brought up playing with white dolls ... dolls are playing toys, but today I see them as more than that. These black dolls have an impact on our little girls as they show off their kinky hair, broad noses and their gorgeous thick lips, thus teaching them to accept their beautiful features," said Robotham-Reynolds.

The Miss Lou Dolls that sing Dis Long Time Gal Me Neva See Yu were first launched in 2003, but were relaunched on Wednesday.

The patois-speaking dolls, Kelly and Keisha, feature an array of cultural costumes that range from Bandanna Belle to Legendary Sportswear, Smocking Wear U Colours, Sassy Swimwear, Tropical Splendour, Groovy Tie Dye, Inspired Motherland, Patwa Vibes, Crotchet Pickney, and Schoolaz, which can be tailor-made to suit your choice.

The dolls speak about the unique Jamaican culture and our triumphant sportsmen and women.

"A wah dat mi a hear? Reggae music from yard? Bwoy Jamaica little but we tallawah, Wat a boonoonous time wi a go have," is only a snippet of what the patois speaking dolls say. This is said to a background instrumental of, Land of my Birth by Grub Cooper from the Fab 5 Band.

 

Beginning of a new era

 

Speaking at the launch, Steven Golding, president of the Universal Negro Improvement Association, congratulated Robotham-Reynolds on this initiative. He also described the moment as a, "new beginning and an opportunity for Jamaicans to take control of our destiny. For a long time we have been advocating for black dolls, and even before my time going back to the early 20th century, the black doll was one of the things that our first national hero Marcus Garvey not only spoke about but also invested in. He even went as far as to say Negroes shouldn't give their children white dolls to play with because they will grow up to wanting to have white babies," Golding said.

He added that encouraging parents to allow their children to play with black dolls instead of white dolls is not promulgating racism, but encouraging children to appreciate their cultural story and inevitably their identity.

Professor Carolyn Cooper, cultural analyst said that parents should be mindful of the images they give their children to play with. "The images that we give the little girls to play with are very important. These dolls are very important because it is a way ... for us to identify with our true self," Cooper said.

"We need to start giving the little boys dollies to play with. If you don't teach a boy how to look after a baby him not going to be able to do it when him turn big man. Give the boy dem dolly, and it don't have to be dolly that look like the police and the soldier with guns. We need to give them little boy dolly and little girl dolly so that they can bathe and feed them. Also, we need to give them dolly house and tea set so that they will learn how to work in house and don't turn bafhand," Cooper explained.

The main aspect of the launch saw the unveiling of Kelly's mysterious outfit, the Legendary Sportswear that displays Usain Bolt's 'To the World' silhouette pose.

Robotham-Reynolds says that she is ecstatic and feels as if she is in a dream world. She has also pledged to donate 5 per cent of the sales from the first 300 dolls to Angels of Love Jamaica, an organisation dedicated to helping children with cancer.