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9-year-old Demetrius, who goes by Lil Dee, is turning Black and Brown boy trauma into joy and purpose with his new company Our Brown Boy Joy, and My Friend doll line.
His mother, Luciana Gilmore, said it all started when she began shopping for dolls of color for her son and had no luck. Most of the dolls that came close to representation were all for girls. Hence, she was adamant about ensuring that Lil Dee saw himself represented in the industry.
That’s when Lil Dee and his dedicated mother came up with the brilliant idea of starting Our Brown Boy Joy, a company on a mission to motivate and inspire by letting every young Black and Brown boy know just how special they are.
Embracing positive messages at every turn, Our Brown Boy Joy seemingly goes above and beyond in its efforts to motivate and inspire Black and Brown boys across the country.
“I want brown boys to be proud of who they are,” remarked Lil Dee when asked about his inspiration for starting Our Brown Boy Joy. “I want brown boys everywhere to know just how special they are. My subscription boxes and character line will allow boys to have items that directly represent them. I know when I go into the store, nothing looks like me or represents me – this is a problem.”
Lil Dee dedicated his first line of dolls to Black boys who were senselessly murdered by vigilantes or police officers. Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, and others are featured in his new toy collection.
In 2014, Lil Dee’s mother served as principal at Marion-Seltzer Elementary School, where Tamir Rice attended. Hence, Rice’s slaying by a Cleveland police officer hit close to home for them.
“I wanted him to understand that this is not just a Black man’s issue, but it extends to boys your age,” she explained to her son. Her goal as a mother is to help change the narrative and for her son to understand that everything they create together can be multi-purposeful.
Lil Dee, with an adorable smile that can only embody #BlackBoyJoy, recently participated in the Black Friday sale for his new toy line. He thanked the public for supporting his growing business.