Purpose Toys Partners with Just Play to Introduce Two Contemporary Toy Brands That Align With the Modern Black Experience


Purpose Toys, one of the largest Black-owned toy start-ups, announced today the release of two new purpose-driven toy lines, Naturalistas and HBCyoU, in partnership with Just Play and Kidfinity Inc. (a Just Play affiliated company).

Both lines will be sold and distributed by Purpose Toys for retail launch globally in Fall 2022, with additional collaborations planned for Spring 2023 and beyond.

Purpose Toys was founded by entrepreneur, brand specialist, and business development executive DeeDee Wright-Ward with a mission to partner with promising Black toy creatives, to produce contemporary products that align more closely with the modern Black experience. DeeDee’s background in entertainment and fashion provides a distinctive expertise to bring culture-based initiatives to the mainstream, according to a press release.

Naturalistas(created by DeeDee), is a line of natural hair fashion dolls designed as “A Celebration of Natural Coils, Curls and Crowns.” HBCyoU Dolls, created by Purpose Toys’ mentee Brooke Hart Jones, are 18-inch dolls that aim to “Share the Magic of Historically Black Colleges and Universities” by advancing the concept of higher learning to young children through play. Through Naturalistas and HBCyoU, Purpose Toys has captured a medley of cultural subtleties, including the uniqueness of Black beauty and hair textures, gorgeous hues of Black skin tones, accompanied by authentic storytelling dear to the Black community.

(Courtesy of Purpose Toys)

DeeDee Wright-Ward stated, “The African American community is a nuanced, multi-dimensional group with varying sensibilities and experiences. Through Naturalistas and HBCyoU Dolls, Purpose Toys ushers in the perfect opportunity to honor the uniqueness and multifaceted nature of not only our community, but African American culture. While ‘diversity,’ ‘representation’ and ‘inclusion’ are slowly becoming the corporate norm, more work needs to be done to bring cultural nuances, authentic brand stories, and Black ownership to the toy aisle. We hope to affect positive change not only in toy development, but in business overall.”

Charlie Emby, co-President of Just Play, stated, “Purpose Toys is elevating the conversation about cultural representation to the next level with Naturalistas and HBCyoU Dolls. Just Play is committed to the vision of toy shelves that are inclusive and reflect the diversity of the world around us, and we are honored to work with Purpose Toys to provide opportunities for more children to see themselves reflected in their playthings.”

Naturalistas Dolls (SRP $12.99) feature seven aspirational characters, all with authentic hair textures, gorgeous skin tones, as well as contemporary custom-designed fashions. The line also includes an Influencer Deluxe Set (SPR $24.99) that includes an array of fun accessories and two interchangeable hairstyles. Each Naturalistas character was specifically designed as a reflection of Black beauty, including  culturally familiar faces, featuring beautifully sculpted noses, lips, jawlines, and profiles. For style-conscious kids, contemporary Fashion Packs (SRP $9.99) feature three different ensembles, each designed to reflect  a-day-in-a-life of a Naturalista. The line also includes two “Crown and Coils” and “Crown and Curls” Styling Heads (SRP $29.99).”

Naturalistas is the first toy line to offer specific Natural Hair textured styling heads, with special 3C and 4A hair textures that more accurately reflect the variety of hair textures of Black children. Styling Heads come with culturally specific hair tools and accessories, including a trademark Crown afro pick, gold crown braid barrels, butterfly barrettes, and more.

HBCyoU Dolls (SRP $34.99) feature three characters, all with authentic hair textures and beautiful, realistic skin tones. Dressed to participate in varying school-related activities, HBCyoU characters come with contemporary custom designed outfits. HBCyoU Dolls were authentically designed to reflect the nuances of Black beauty, and to celebrate the Black college experience.

Just Play’s award-winning portfolio of toy lines includes several multi-cultural and diverse brands such as Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins, Disney and Pixar’s Turning Red, Netflix’s Ada Twist, Scientist, Nickelodeon’s That Girl Lay Lay, and YouTube’s Super Sema.

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