Who needs a Barbie when you can get a customized doll with your favorite natural hair style? Karen Byrd started the The Natural Girls United! project to showcase the positive view of ethnic beauty.

From Karen Byrd’s bio:

There have been quite a few studies done that show that African American boys and girls often think of black dolls as bad and white dolls as good.  Of course, this is not something that the parent is teaching their child. So why are they getting these mixed messages about good and bad skin color, or good and bad hair?  It all has to do with the images they see as they grow up. If a child is constantly looking at images, dolls, television, books and magazines – and only seeing beauty as something or someone with non-ethnic features and long, straight hair – then they are going to assume that this is what beauty is. It is something that has hurt our young people for centuries. But each day we learn that it is important to show them and teach them that


The Natural Girls United! come in a variety of styles. There’s dolls in dreadlocks, kinky twists, as well as short cropped afros. Not to be left out, there’s even a male doll with dreadlocks. The prices range from $45.00-$140.00. For more information on the dolls, check out the site www.naturalgirlsunited.com or follow Natural Girls United on Twitter and Natural Girls United on Facebook.





  • https://www.facebook.com/aisha.reed.3 Aisha Reed

    I would love that.

  • https://www.facebook.com/aisha.reed.3 Aisha Reed

    I would love that.

  • aziza123

    Nice idea, but why does it have to be so damn expensive. I can get a blond barbie for a couple of euros, but have to pay 45 dollars for the cheapest natural hair doll?????

    And why does the last doll have blue eyes?

  • Starla

    I was all for them until I noticed the eye colours. Cool initiative anyway.

  • AnnT

    They’re customized dolls, not mass produced cookie cutter figures.
    Look at the hair! She had to put in some work and work costs $$$.
    As far as the eye color, I can’t tell if it’s the light reflecting off their face or what, but WoC do have eye colors other than brown.

  • aziza123

    I won’t let my future kids play with anything that costs 45 dollars (minimal).

    I don’t understand why karen byrd stresses that children don’t have natural hair dolls to play with and in the meantime makes those dolls 45 dollars.

    Make them around 10 dollars do children get the chance to play with them.

  • AnnT

    I wouldn’t either. Hopefully a company that can mass produce the dolls for less money can defray the costs.

  • http://leaveyourfeelingsatthedoor.tumblr.com/ Eden

    I don’t know where you’re looking for Barbies but as a collector of Barbies for over 2 decades, my Ghanaian Barbie and South African Barbie look just as good from the natural hair right down to the tootie, if not better, and damn sure didn’t cost no $45+ dollars. AND they always come with information about the country and their practices and traditions to help educate little girls. Karen Boyd’s dolls look great but I’ve BEEN rockin’ with Barbies, they’ve gone up in value for me, and I’m gonna keep rockin’ with them. I’ll probably buy at least one Boyd doll to support but I’m a Barbie fan til I die.

  • miele

    Y do i need a doll to teach my kids that there r many diff ways hair comes in…i think we r takung this nat hair/¿non-nat hai debate too far.
    The rest of those dolls bodies still look like the western standard of beauty. Where is miss big booty or ms no booty ? Ms dark (charcoal) skin beauty or ms i am 1/16th cherokee. Where is the true representative of black beauty. I didnt even see ms lawyer with twa. Meh i think i will pass.

  • Guest1234

    Where is the TWA? Are we saying natural hair is only beautiful if it is cascading down our backs? Nice try, and a step in the right direction, but those eye colors and the stubborn refusal to allow black women to be beautiful even if we don’t have hair growing all down our backs (natural or not) are still wrong. Le sigh. Is it really that hard, ya’ll?

    Sorry guys, but this is still a FAIL.

  • Common Sense

    I LOVE IT!!!!!!! I wish they had these when I was growing up!

  • CS

    Hey Starla, some of us have blue, green and grey-green eye colors also. Just saying…

  • Ang28

    As far as these doll I say good for her! We can never have too many black entrepreneurs or positive images for kids.

    The only issue I have is that sometimes ppl but too much weight on outside forces and not enough on the parents’ role in teaching their kids (and no I’m not saying Karen is promoting this).
    “There have been quite a few studies done that show that African American boys and girls often think of black dolls as bad and white dolls as good. Of course, this is not something that the parent is teaching their child”

    Unfortunately, a lot of that does come from the home. Ppl underestimate how much their kids pick up from the things they do and little comments they make (or just the lack of positive affirmation). Of course what kids see in the media does play a part, but the way to make kids love themselves is I actually teach them to do so from a young age. My mother bought me black and white dolls (much to my aunt’s dismay) but neither had any affect on how I felt about myself b/c I had a mother who was constantly talking to me about black history and how important it is for every girl to appreciate themseves.

    Of course it’s great to have dolls that reflect what girls look like. I’m just saying it should be the last piece of the puzzle. If a kid (of any race) is getting their self-worth from the media or toys that’s a problem.

  • Mmmgood

    There’s a doll with a twa on the website.

  • Azzure

    I WANT ONE NOW!!!!

  • Azzure

    You must not know much about doll collecting or buying things custom made. To me, this is fairly cheap for a custom made doll.

  • http://www.myblackfriendsays.com myblackfriendsays

    Maybe she should go on Shark Tank and get an investor so she can bring the price point down. Also, everyone has an ethnicity, “ethnic” should not be used as a synonym for people of color.

  • Guest1234

    Yup. There sure is. lol! That image didn’t load or something the first time ‘cuz I sure didn’t see it. I take it back. It’s only a 1/2 fail for the blue and green eyes, etc. Thanks for the correction.

  • Ms. Write

    OMG! I want the one in the red dress with the short cut. That looks like me! :-)

  • M

    It’s not the cost of the doll. It’s the disclaimer for each of them about how to do their hair. It takes more work than my own natural hair. So you are spending $40 on a doll that will be destroyed in a week.

  • ScriptTease

    …and they just couldn’t get the price down to under $20. I would love to show my support, but not for these prices.

  • Joyous

    As an entrepreneur, I have found that those who respect the incredible hard work of providing a custom made and valuable product or service will pay the full price. People will either support you or they won’t. You have to focus on those who believe in what you are doing, and build from there. I applaud the creator of these dolls for understanding the impact of images on children. My parents always bought Black dolls for me, if one was available when I was a child, despite the fact that they were never advertised anywhere. I agree that many African countries already have Black dolls that are mass produced. Thats a given in majority Black countries. Black people are at the center of everything in majority Black countries. Black Americans live a very different reality, and we all know this.

  • kezy

    i havent read all the comment but judging by the last one i see someone has already mentioned this but that price is not going to get these dolls into the homes they need to be.

    first let me say i am NOT saying the price isnt justified im sure it is but who is going to pay $45.00 for a doll that i GUARANTEE will be destroyed. KIds destroy toys that the nature of being a child. Buying a barbie for $6 or these thats a no go for most.

    2nd point, lets say a parent buys this doll for a kid as show piece doesnt that defeat the purpose of the doll being something the kids can play with to get the positive image in their heads.

    finally the kids who need to this the most, those of lower socio economic status (no im not saying kids families with more money dont still devalue themselves but they are more likely to be exposed even it its just a little to positive self images) are definitely not going to get a chance to buy these dolls ,

    all this said i think the idea is great and appauld maker for doing something about it not just talking about it

  • http://enchantedroots.wordpress.com Najat

    I wish Clutch would consider letting me write an article for their site.

    My philosophy overlaps with Ms. Byrd’s, bringing to life a full-length BLACK fairy tale for children of all ages, for sale at $12. “The Prince and Timberance” also seeks to combat negative images and uplift black people in the form of children’s entertainment. It is for sale at enchantedroots.com.

    We were intentional with the price as well. I am lucky that I can, however, support the price point set for Ms. Byrd’s dolls!!!

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    I never was a “doll girl” growing up I always preferred toys my brothers had because they did stuff but I must say if dolls like this was around I would have gotten into them more. I like the initiative but I would love to see more doctor,lawyer,engineer and scientist black dolls, learning toys/devices, books and crafts dedicated to balck kids so more businesses like this the merrier and though the price might be steep I do know parents and people who will folk over cash to give the little girl/boy in their lives a black doll/toys so there is a market out there. Hell I remember one Christmas my uncle buying a barbie bike for my cousin and coloring barbie brown with a marker…lol so the need is there

  • Stephanie Partlow

    I love love what you have done as far as getting people aware of your dolls.I personally have loved dolls from the beginning please keep up the good work. However please consider your prices in these day and times I believe that every little African American girl should have one of your dolls but unfortunately with the dolls costing as much it would be impossible please consider your prices because the same way white america enjoys barbie we should be able to enjoy the dolls that represent us also

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