Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Celebrating #BrownBoyhood Through Toys: A Naturalista Introduces Melanites!

Celebrating #BrownBoyhood is an exciting new venture. Perhaps you haven’t 
heard about it so sit back, read and enjoy this fantastic information about, 
Jennifer Pierre, a young Black woman entrepreneur who has created a novel 
project worthy of serious consideration, entitled Melanites. She is a graduate 
student in the entrepreneurial program at Babson College. She was one of 
my former students, so I am bursting with pride, but not surprised to see 
her brilliant, well-thought out and interesting creation as it was obvious in 
the classroom that her brain energy would never be wasted. On the heels of
 Barbie’s debut of a new line, andAmerican Girl’s release of their latest African
 American addition, it seems that diversity on the shelves is once again a hot 
discussion topic. It is no wonder that the desire for more diverse options is on 
the rise given America’s continuously changing consumer demographic. 
Per Jennifer, “according to the United States Census, there are more multicultural
 children being born under the age of five today than ever before.” Hence rather 
than “minority,” emerging majority is becoming the reality for children of color. 
This reality peaked Jennifer’s interest towards a new creation.
Additionally, as a smart business-minded person, through her research, 
Jennifer learned that in 2015, the Toy Industry Association estimated a 
$24 Billion market in the US alone of which 8% of those sales were
 accounted for by the doll category. Of that slice, that the percentage of 
diverse dolls cannot be calculated because there is not enough data. Her
 light bulb went on as she realized this fact: that translates into a substantial 
untapped market that does not coincide with what is currently being offered!
 The Toy Industry is simply not making products that appeal to the millions of
 multicultural families who purchase toys every year.
Consequently, Jennifer went on to create Melanites, a toy company introducing a
 new line of boy dolls of color. After visiting countless toy stores that did not reflect 
her or the people in her community, she decided to do something about it. Jennifer 
is a founder of the company, which hopes to stand up for children’s right to options. 
She decided to focus her mission on celebrating brown boyhood. This means tackling 
racial and gender bias simultaneously. Pierre points out “that there exists a “blue aisle” 
that stereotypes young boys into the pigeon-hole of hyper-masculinity.  The shelves
marketed to young boys are “littered with toy guns, fighting stances, and 
aggressive role play.”
She indicates that “children’s play is serious business because it is a 
focal point of where ideas and messages around their sense of 
self-confidence and imagery emerge.” Having diversity in their toy 
selection is a very human need for access to different backgrounds.
To see the rest of this exciting story with more photos, visit: 


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