The first black doll store in Rio de Janiero 'Era Uma Vez o Mundo' (Once Upon A Time in Brazil) is getting ready to empower Afro-Brazilian children ahead of the Christmas holidays, footage recorded on Monday shows.
Footage shows customers and staff inside the 'Era Uma Vez o Mundo' store, which has been open since February 2019, but had been trading online since 2017.
Brazilians of African descent are the majority of the country's 210 million population, yet often complain of a lack of representation within mainstream culture. According to Brazilian media, 93 percent of the dolls in brazil are White.
Store owner Jaciana Melquiades explained her reason for opening the black doll store: "My dream was to get a Barbie and my grandmother gave it to me when I was six years old. I remember the feeling when I opened the doll box. But the doll created a question for me, I wanted to be that doll and she didn't look like me. So I created a totally distorted image of myself. I grew up wanting to straighten my hair, fine-tune my nose, and then I thought that when I became an adult and I became a mother, that my son shouldn't have to go through this."
"When a child plays only with white dolls they cannot create an idea about the world being diverse. So when we bring a black doll to a white child, they start to create affection for black people from this toy," she added.
Jussara Nazare, a store worker and Jaciana's mother, said that many customers "identify with the doll and they start to cry because they never had a black doll."
A customer, Jennifer Oliveira da Costa, confirmed that she "came here to visit the store to buy a Christmas gift for my niece, adding that "I can't find many black dolls in the market."