Submitted by Dana “Mama Doll” Hill.
‘Twas 18 days before Christmas in 2007, when Mama Doll was in her Dollhouse and created a movement that reminded the world that all Dolls go to heaven.
On December 17th, Mama Doll was in her kitchen watching children identify white dolls as pretty & good and black dolls as ugly & bad. This made Mama Doll extremely sad. Understanding that dark skin dolls are just as beautiful as light, she stayed up all night and wondered what she could do to make things right. So with all races of people, she threw a party called The Black Doll Affair. It’s mission: love for the Doll in the mirror, kindness to the Doll next door, empowerment and community care.
Born Dana Hill in 1971, Mama Doll was partly raised by her grandma and grandpa. A notably gentle girl, she suffered from asthma and eczema. With dark chocolate skin, she grew up in Oklahoma City. She was teased for being ugly, not pretty. Bullied for her puffy hair & dark black skin, it wasn’t easy for her to find a friend. While the other kids played in the gym, outside in the sun and in the atrium pool, Dana spent her elementary days alone in the girls’ bathroom at school. It was there that she learned that people can be cruel.
Every morning, Dana would get up at the crack of dawn in hopes of scoring the last seat on the bus. Looking forward, it was difficult for her bullies to make much of a fuss. In the girls’ bathroom, Dana says that life prepared her to become “Mama Doll,” Founder of The Black Doll Affair. It was there that she witnessed the principal, teachers and students behave towards her as if they didn’t care. Everyday, they would come into the bathroom and not look her way or even ask if she were okay. Each overlooking the fact that in the girls bathroom was no place for a little girl to stay. Those years spent in the girls bathroom taught Dana to help others and teach them how to play.
In her teens, Mama Doll’s physical appearance changed. She went from being called ugly to being “pretty for a dark skin girl” and no longer estranged. Unimpressed by the shallow accusations of being called cute, she rejected the new sounds of pretty and put it on mute. It was in her teens that she decided to be more kind than cute.
In her 20’s, Mama Doll decided to pay her way by becoming a model. But no agent wanted to promote the color of her skin. A harsh realization set in: life as a black girl was no play pen. For and with those not typically included, Dana colluded. She learned to create her own heartfelt campaigns and market them too. This is how the story of The Black Doll Affair is being brought to you.
Moral of The Black Doll Affair Story: Realizing that she is the Black Doll, Mama Doll’s journey showed her that there is purpose in rejection. Good, bad and ugly, her life had rolled out in pure perfection. Everything that she went through prepared her to become Mama Doll, Founder of The Black Doll Affair, a social club for Black girls, their multiracial Dollfriends, oddballs, weirdos and those living in despair. Her beautiful space for all guys & dolls to play, there you can find Mama Doll working to make life better everyday.
From Strife to Success: The Black Doll Affair is made up of three types of members: The Black Dolls (Black women,) their Porcelain Dolls (non-black women) and the Black Doll Brothas (men.) Collectively, they’re known as The Black Dolls. The Black Dolls are mentioned in college textbooks, have their own day proclaimed on the calendar in Georgia, were given Congressional Recognition by the late Congressman John Lewis and received Barack Obama’s Presidential Service Award. Mentioned in countless news and magazine articles, The Black Dolls have been seen in the pages of iconic magazines such as Essence, Oprah, Ms. Heel, Vogue and Vanity Fair. A powerful solution to Doll Tests – where children identified the black doll as bad & ugly – and to empower women and girls, The Black Dolls wear T-shirts that reflect their name, gather for self-esteem summits & philanthropic playdates and giveaway toy black dolls. These are the Affairs of The Black Dolls. To join and become a Black Doll, there’s no membership fee…just go to blackdollaffair.com and buy your Doll T(shirt).
Dana “Mama Doll” Hill, who was nominated for the Living Legacy Award by the organization that created Black History Month, has but one message: Make your mess your message. What was supposed to be a one-time Christmas party, back in 2007, is now a sixteen year old empowerment movement for Black girls around the globe. In September 2022, changing the way we play, Mama Doll opened a sub-club of The Black Doll Affair. Her social club for ‘friends beyond the color of skin,’ is now accepting new Dollfriends. It’s called The Black & White Affair of Tacoma. From strife to success, not bad for an “ugly”, bullied girl from Oklahoma.
Be a Doll, give a doll! Merry Christmas (Season) to all!