Here Comes Niya

Name: Here Comes Niya

Made by and When: HCN Enterprises, Inc./1990 (released on February 1, 1991)

Material: Vinyl head, arms, and legs; white cloth body with voice box

Marks: NIYA 1990 (on head)

Height: 24 inches

Hair/Eyes/Mouth: Black rooted hair styled in two side ponytails with a spiral curl on the forehead/brown painted eyes/smiling mouth with four molded lower teeth

Clothes: The pink pleated dress with lace trim on the upper bodice has “Niya” printed in blue letters on the lower left. Also wears matching pink panties, white knit socks, and black vinyl slip-on shoes; was also available wearing a yellow dress and other costumes (see slideshow). A pink hairbrush was included with the original doll.

Other: Here Comes Niya celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2021. Created by Darla Davenport-Powell after searching for books and dolls that looked like her daughter, Niya, and finding none. Here Comes Niya, made in the likeness of Davenport-Powell’s daughter, is her daughter’s namesake and uses her daughter’s voice in the talking mechanism.

The original Here Comes Niya has a battery-operated, removable voice box. When the stomach is pressed, a recording in the voice of young Niya plays several positive phrases: Hi, my name is Niya. Give me a hug. You’re special. Tickle me please. You’re my best friend. I love you. The doll also counts count from 1 to 10 in English, Spanish, and Kiswahili. The voice was activated in later versions by pressing the doll’s right hand (see the video below the slideshow). The original dolls were sold unpackaged through mail-order. Later, packaged versions were sold through big chain stores such as K-Mart. For more information about the original Here Comes Niya and the products that followed, visit niyakids.com

Slideshow

Video

Niya A. Cotton Gives Tribute to Mom, Darla Davenport-Powell in the video below.

For email subscribers: If you subscribe to DeeBeeGee’s Virtual Black Doll Museum™  by email, be sure to click the post title in the email which will link you to the website to view all photos, slideshows, and/or associated videos for the installation.

Published by DeeBeeGee

Doll collector, historian, co-founder of the first e-zine devoted to collecting black dolls; author of black-doll reference books, doll blogs, and doll magazine articles.

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