Image: Three Black Barbies
So here’s the thing. I know how many women feel about Barbie. I know how many black people feel about Barbie. But when I was a little girl, I loved my Barbies. I would act out elaborate storylines with them.
And the dolls I asked for specifically weren’t always the princess dolls (in fact, I don’t think I ever asked for or had one). I wanted the dolls that did cool things. Like Astronaut Barbie, who went to the moon, and Day to Night Barbie, who worked in an office like my mom but still went out at night with Ken. Unlike my mom, Barbie did not have a kid to care for.
Most of my Barbies were white, yes, but my mom and family made sure I had some black Barbies that weren’t just cocoa-colored versions of the “regular” doll. When I grew up and started collecting Barbies, I found that the world of black Barbies is full of gorgeous, gorgeous dolls wearing kick-ass fashions that do have the features of women with African blood. Mattel may not be on the list of most sensitive companies of all time, but when they set out to create some beautiful black dolls for girls, they did not play around.
If I can dig them out, I’ll post the pictures I took at Toy Fair celebrating 30 years of Black Barbie.