Niya Doll

Next up is Darla Davenport-Powell of the Niya Doll.

The Niya Doll promotes diversity by embracing each other’s differences and individuality. According to their website, a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison “found that out of 3,200 books published in 2013, only 93 were about African-American characters, the lowest in two decades: 1.5% were about Latinos; less than 1% were about American Indians; and 2% were about Asian Pacifics/Asian Pacific Americans.”

Darla was inspired to create the multicultural dolls when she and her husband were unable to find books and toys that looked like their daughter, Niya. “We searched high and low to find books and toys that reflected our culture and came up with nothing,” according to their website. “All that was out there at the time were white dolls dipped in chocolate with straight hair. It was also easier to find a needle in a haystack than a children’s book featuring a positive African-American family.” The dolls sing and speak in different languages.

The mentors like how versatile the dolls are and believe the storybook is a key component. Dylan Lauren thinks it’s a bit outdated, but Jen Tan points out the positive that the clothing can be changed. Lauren likes the educational factor and passes it to the next round, as does Tan. Jim Silver agrees, which means Niya Doll will go into The Toy Box to meet the kid judges.

In the Toy Box, Noah Ritter admits that he thinks talking dolls are “creepy.” Aalyrah Caldwell and Sophia Grace Brownlee, on the other hand, like the dolls and their cultural accessories. They are impressed by Darla’s commitment, having worked on the dolls for 33 years, and also like that additional elements can be added to the dolls. They think they’re a bit creepy though and point out that American Girl dolls are already fairly similar.

Ultimately, the Niya doll failed to win over the judges, receiving a “no” from the Magic 8 ball.

Hosted by “Modern Family” star Eric Stonestreet, “The Toy Box” helps inventors make their toy creation dreams become a reality. According to their website, the inventions are brought before mentors, including Dylan’s Candy Bar owner Dylan Lauren, toy guru Jim Silver and Pixar creative director of Consumer Products, Jen Tan. If they pass phase one, they then have the opportunity to face the ultimate toy-loving panel of judges: kids. The panel features Sophia Grace Brownlee, Aalyrah Caldwell, Toby Grey and Noah Ritter. The kids determine which toys make it to the finals and, ultimately, the one winning toy that will sold at Toys“R”Us.

A new episode airs each Friday at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Would you buy the Niya Doll? Sound off in the comments section below!