Black Panther, Shuri, Okoye, and Nakia action figures displayed on office shelf.

Why Black Panther Toys Make My Inner Child Rejoice...

As an author who creates Black female superheroes, few things make me happier than seeing more representation in collectibles. I grew up wishing for action figures that looked like me, so I'm thrilled by the Black Panther toys now inspiring children.

When I was young, female Black dolls were scarce, let alone superhero action figures! The few Black male heroes in toys and comics became my role models, though I longed to see myself reflected. Now, I proudly display the Black Panther, Shuri, Okoye, and Nakia figures, overjoyed that today's youth can play out their power.

Nothing can beat the excitement I felt unboxing these figures for the first time. Their costumes mirrored the ornate beauty of Wakanda with meticulous details. Not to mention their range of articulation and fierce poses captured each character’s warrior spirit. As I positioned Okoye with her spear and Nakia with her ring blades, I imagined them protecting their kingdom. Yes, I can't help it. I'm totally a superhero blerd.

Having grown up role-playing either Wonder Woman or other mostly white male heroes, it struck me how kids today can now fight evil as these Black female heroes. Playing make-believe as Okoye or Shuri isn't just child’s play, but an affirmation of their potential for greatness. My inner child cries with joy.

I'll cherish my Black Panther collection to inspire my writing. The figures are prominently displayed in my office as I brainstorm my next superhero project featuring a badass Black heroine. Whenever my imagination needs igniting, glancing at their power stances rekindles my drive.

It thrills me to see major brands realize representation matters in merchandise as much as in movies. Kids internalize the heroes they emulate in play. By mirroring our diverse world, toys can build all children's self-esteem, not just little white boys now seeing themselves everywhere.

Of course, profit drives decisions, not altruism. However, having diverse representation in media has proven to be profitable, as shown by the success of Black Panther and its resulting boost in toy sales. When companies trust that empowering people of all backgrounds enriches us all, change accelerates.

We still have far to go before merchandise fully reflects our diverse communities. But the expanding Black Panther collection feels like society turning a corner. Each new action figure promises a future where every child feels represented, valued, and limitless in unlocking their hero within.

I dream one day my books and merchandise will inspire fantasy and sci-fi heroines as game-changing as seeing Black Panther in toy aisles today. Until then, I'll keep supporting brands moving in a more inclusive direction. And I'll keep fighting to give all kids the childhood I wished for, full of action figures making every child feel seen, valid, and unstoppable.

Here's My List of #BlackGirlMagic Toys and Action Figures:


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Alicia McCalla photo credit Dr. Howard McCalla

I’m author Alicia McCalla. Sign-up for my newsletter to get updates, learn about my latest projects and purchase my badass, spunky, and smart Black heroines on Merchandise!