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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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Fans Think This Photo Of Barbie Is Proof She’s An Out And Proud Lesbian

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Fans Think This Photo Of Barbie Is Proof She’s An Out And Proud Lesbian

Mattel/ Instagram

The fact that the early days of Barbie were not quite so inclusive to all of us comes as no surprise. The blonde, impossibly figured doll with a penchant for similar-looking friends is a far cry away from the Barbie of today who has friends of all shapes, races, sizes, sexual identities, and abilities. Even better, today’s Barbie crew includes dolls who give queer children a broader playgound for their imagination.

Recently, Barbie has added a new addition to her friend group whose bringing more power to her LGTBQ fans.

Social media has dubbed the LGBTQ positive Aimee Song doll Barbie‘s girlfriend.

Twitter’s latest excitement is about a theory that Barbie and Aimee Song are dating. Photos of Mattel’s doll Aimee Song doll show her wearing a “Love Wins” T-shirt that supports LGBTQ+ rights. The Mattel doll was inspired by fashion blogger Aimee Song and recently caught renewed attention in a viral post shared to Twitter.

The “Love Wins” photos are only now going viral but were actually released in November 2017.

The photos of Barbie and the Aimee doll were shared to Twitter last Monday by user @kissevermore and now has Twitter debating whether the two are dating.

The pictures of Barbie and Aimee show the two dolls eating avocado toast. petting a dog, and smiling at each other. The images have fans questioning when Barbie came out and how she managed to nail a hot girlfriend before they did.

Even REAL Aimee Song weighed in on the images to confirm the relationship.

“I am the girlfriend,” she tweeted with a photo of herself and the Aimee Song doll. 

While Mattel has yet to officially identify Barbie as a lesbian, the original Instagram posts related to the Love Wins Barbies are proof that she is at least an ally.

Confirmed or not, true or not, one of the best parts of Barbie is that she is meant to be whoever her fans want her to be.

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Barbie Discusses White Privilege, Racial Profiling, and Microaggressions On Her YouTube Channel

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Barbie Discusses White Privilege, Racial Profiling, and Microaggressions On Her YouTube Channel

Barbie may have the reputation of being just a kid’s doll without much substance behind her shiny plastic face, but the truth is, the brand is seeking to do much more than that.

Last Wednesday, Barbie posted a video to her YouTube channel where she tackled the difficult topic of racism.

For those of you who don’t know, Barbie has a popular YouTube channel where she appears as an animated character in vlog-style videos. On her channel, along with videos like “DIY Rainbow Summer Party Ideas” and ” My Puppy Did My Homework?”, Barbie also tackles more serious topics from mental health to bullying.

In her most recent video, titled “Barbie and Nikki Discuss Racism,” Barbie invited her friend Nikki (who is Black) to discuss specific experiences in Nikki’s life where she felt she was treated unfairly due to the color of her skin.

Nikki then took center stage, telling stories of the microaggressions and unfair treatment that she has experienced as a Black woman. The language and concepts were in plain language that was easy for young viewers to understand.

Nikki starts by telling a story about how she was racially profiled. “Barbie and I had a sticker-selling contest on the beach last month. We split up and went our separate directions to see who could sell the most. While I was on the boardwalk, beach security stopped me three times. The security officer thought I was doing something bad, even though I was doing exactly the same thing that you were doing.”

Nikki goes on to tell another story about how her new French teacher discounted her amazing exam results by telling her she just “got lucky”. Nikki decided not to join the French Club because she didn’t want to have to keep proving herself.

At one point, Nikki says: “People did these things because I was Black, and they made the wrong assumptions about me.”

Through the video, Barbie is an ideal ally, offering Nikki kindness, support and empathy. She never tries to make her feelings seem invalid. She even tells the viewers about white privilege: “That means that white people get an advantage that they didn’t earn, and Black people get a disadvantage that they don’t deserve.”

According to Mattel Executive Lisa McKnight, these types of videos are part of their quest to “leverage” their “global platform” to tackle important topics.

“Being an ally includes having difficult conversations to better understand discrimination,” McKnight said to Insider. “We hope that by leveraging Barbie and Nikki to explore these conversations in a kid-friendly format, we can spark productive discussions for families and empower our next generation of leaders to become advocates for change, raising their voices against racism.”

We can’t wait to see what else Barbie teaches children through her YouTube channel.

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