As Black History month approaches, Mattel has unveiled Maya Angelou as the newest member of its Inspiring Women Collection. Angelou is only the 10th woman in the role model line of Barbies that includes Rosa Parks, Ella Fitzgerald and Florence Nightingale.
The Maya Angelou doll holds a miniature replica of her prolific autobiography, “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings,” and has her wearing a kente head wrap and dress. She also sports a golden ring, bracelet, watch and earrings. The doll retails for $30 and can be found at outlets such as Target.
Mattel posted a picture of the doll on Barbie’s Instagram page and wrote, “The extraordinary #MayaAngelou is the newest heroine in our Inspiring Women Collection. An author, activist and teacher, Dr. Angelou is an inspiration for what you can achieve when you speak up and stand out.”
Mattel also released a statement, adding, “Our efforts include a commitment to spotlight more Black role models who are female, 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.”
The company has a web page dedicated to diversity and revealed that Barbies now come in more than 35 different skin tones and over 10 body shapes. The company also has a video for kids that addresses racism at an age-appropriate level and tackles the subject head-on.
With America’s racial tension on high alert, Mattel publicly made a commitment to the Black community and has been supporting organizations like Black Girl Code and shedding light on racism. “We cannot achieve our mission to inspire the limitless potential in every girl without acknowledging the barriers and racism impacting Black girls speciﬁcally,” the company pledged in a statement last June.
“We stand united in the ﬁght against racism and are committed to showing up, doing the work, and allocating the resources. We know these actions are just the beginning and we will keep working until the next generation truly believes they can be anything, without the barriers of racial injustice and discrimination.”
Check out Barbie’s diversity video on the next page.
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