Designer Reinterprets ‘Army Men’ Toys As Proud Black Activists

By Sameer Rao Aug 30, 2016

Graphic designer Arielle Wilkins, noting the enduring relevance of the green "army men" toys so many kids of all races grew up with, took to Kickstarter to fund a new toy line honoring Black activists. 

"With so much misrepresentation of the [B]lack community and the vicious cycle the justice system has created for the impoverished, we wanted to take a strong stance in a sort of silent protest," says Wilkins on the Kickstarter page. "Our Army Men stand strong and proud. They carry no guns and are a tribute to a community that has come from so little to create opportunities that have led to so much."

To that end, "Black Army Men Collectibles" features five figurines whose appearances evoke, however intentionally, Black Panther iconography. One wears a beret while holding a flag. Three (one of whom wears a skirt) have their fists raised. 

Wilkins designed the figurines through her graphic design company, Brothas N Sistas, which also sells a variety of apparel depicting famous rappers without eyes via Etsy. The Kickstarter, which has 52 days to raise just over $18,000 towards its $20,000 goal, is raising funds to cover creating silicon molds for the black matte figurines, as well as packaging and distribution. Those who donate at various levels are eligible to receive figurine sets, sticker sheets, tote bags and other associated goods. 

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