Fierce

Mattel Debuts, and Quickly Sells Out Of, Maya Angelou Barbie Doll

Photo via Barbie/Instagram

Barbie lovers and Maya Angelou-devotees rejoice! Mattel recently debuted a truly iconic new collector’s doll: a Barbie® Inspiring Women™ Maya Angelou Doll.

The doll comes dressed in a colorful floral dress with matching headwrap. It also comes with a miniature version of the Angelou’s classic and highly lauded memoir, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings”.

According to Mattel, the doll is part of the company’s efforts towards greater diversity and inclusion in their products–a commitment that they made in 2020 at the height of the Black Live’s Matter movement.

“Our efforts include a commitment to spotlight more Black role models who are female,” they wrote in a recent press release. “And now, we are introducing a doll that honors Dr. Maya Angelou, author and activist who used her voice and unique writing style to connect with people and inspire generations.”

According to Mattel, they plan on making 50% of their “Barbie Role Models” to be “Black, Indigenous and women of color.”

Maya Angelou’s son, Gary Johnson, said that he was “delighted” at the decision to craft a Barbie in his late mother’s likeness.

“My mother, Dr. Maya Angelou, was a pioneer and an activist with an invincible spirit for justice,” he said in a statement. “Through her words and actions, she developed a unique ability to create deep connections with people around the world. She used to say, ‘I write from the Black perspective, but I aim for the human heart.'”

This isn’t the first inspiring woman that Mattel has crafted into a collector’s doll.

You may remember, in 2018, the company created a very popular (and very controversial) Frida Kahlo doll. They’ve also created dolls honoring Rosa Parks, Florence Nightingale, and Sally Ride, among others.

Mattel explained what inspired them to create a Dr. Maya Angelou doll, as well as their myriad of other “Role Model Dolls”, saying “it’s important that all girls not only see themselves reflected in product and content, but to also see role models who’ve come before them.”

According to Mattel, their Inspiring Women™ series “pays tribute to incredible heroines of their time; courageous women who took risks, changed rules and paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger than ever before.”

Based on the sales of the Maya Angelou doll, Mattel truly appears to be onto something.

According to their website, the Maya Angelou doll was so popular that it quickly sold out. In fact, there are a few disgruntled would-be-customers who are none too happy that they missed the opportunity to buy a mini Maya.

“It’s ridiculous that a doll released just a week ago is not available on your site but can be found in great supply in eBay for 3 times the price!” wrote one angry customer.

Well…you can’t win ’em all.

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