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Niya Doll Celebrates 30th Anniversary

The late President Nelson Mandela took one home to the children of South Africa with a note that said: “Keep believing!” Jimmy Jam ordered one for Janet Jackson. Bill Cosby’s mother-in-law bought two for her granddaughters and Yolanda Adams purchased three. They each have their own original Niya doll who is celebrating her 30th Anniversary.


30 years ago, on the first day of February, Black History Month, the Here Comes Niya doll was introduced to the marketplace. Darla Davenport-Powell didn’t see a doll that looked like her daughter, Niya, so she created one—a doll that reflected her culture, her character and her color; a doll of brilliance and beauty that would speak three languages, English, Spanish and Kiswahili.

and Swahili was a novel idea, I thought. I had to have it… not for Daughter, but for myself!


“We’ve come a long way,” says Darla Davenport-Powell, creator of the Niya doll and the next generation of Niya friends.  “Thirty years ago, I created a doll for my daughter that reinforced her brilliance and beauty; one that promoted a positive image necessary for a healthy self-esteem.  Thirty years later, the doll line has expanded to include 12 dolls of different ethnicities; a paper doll collection; and a soon-to-come, Niya and Friends animated series.” 


Niya Cotton, the Niya doll inspiration says:

“This 30-year journey of The Niya Doll project has had many ups and many downs. It's not easy getting people to believe in your vision. My mom has driven this Niya Doll project to schools, churches, conferences, seminars, radio shows and even to the ABC hit television show, American Inventor.  She showed America how desperately important it is for our children to be affirmed through products and images that look like themselves. It's my belief that everyone just wants to belong somewhere and if our children don't get a positive push toward their purpose...they will take it upon themselves to find a place to belong. This has been a slow and steady taxiing of yes's and no’s, but I believe with all my heart that lift off is up ahead!”

The journey of a dream

It was an ultimate blessing to be featured on American Inventor and The Toy Box show enabling millions of people to see the product line we want to bring to market. We believe there is a need for an inclusive product line featuring the NiyaKids™

If you love the NiyaKids™ join with us in helping to bring Niya and her friends to the marketplace. We want children all over the world to be able to have their very own NiyaKids™ doll. To make the dream a reality, we need your support. It takes a lot of cash to mass produce Niya and her friends but with your backing, I know we can do it.

I look forward to partnering with friends who see the importance of having Niya and her pals in their homes. Please support our NiyaKIds™ campaign by clicking here. Thank you for being part of the journey and loving the NiyaKids™.

Much joy,


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