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One of my favorite sites for information about movies that deal with African and African American cultures is Shadow and Act.
Last week they posted about an interesting documentary short film that explores the subject of black doll making and collecting, Why do you have black dolls?. I wish I had made something like this film!
Anyway, the short film is just starting to tour the festival circuit, and so far has received good reviews. I hope that some day they release it to the general public. You can watch a trailer here.

I also continue to experiment with black doll making, sometimes with not so good results…
Remember I was going to try to turn a white Barbie doll into a black one?
Well, NOT a good idea.
Besides the fact that I had a dangerous accident during the process of skin dying involving the use of acetone, the finished doll turned out like a plastic version of “black face”.
Yup, ugly result.
I just experimented with the skin color change and never tried to repaint the facial features or curl the hair of the doll, no point in doing that anyway…
I’ve learned that Barbie dolls are usually made out of at least two different kind of plastics and some of them don’t take the color so well, for example in this particular doll; torso, arms, head, and legs take the dye differently. For the hair is better to reroot the head with new hair rather than trying to coloring it with dye.
Here is the creepy result:


My new experiment now with Barbie dolls is to make clothes that more accurately resemble Ethiopian ones. Since most of traditional dresses in Ethiopia are woven on a manual loom, I bought a mini table loom to weave the fabric myself. Luckily, doll clothes are really small, so it doesn’t take much time to weave a dress!
Will post the results of my test soon.


Why do you have black dolls? Facebook page
Black Doll Collecting