We all grew up with Barbie dolls whether we owned them or saw them on TV. Over the years Barbies have managed to become more diverse in order to represent women worldwide. Recently the Mattel company, who is the maker of Barbie, collaborated with Bermudan stylist, Shiona Turini (the costume designer for the box office hit Queen & Slim) to make a line for Black History Month. The movie’s costume design served as an inspiration for some of the outfits. The purpose was to provide a representation of African American girls of various skin tones, shapes, and sizes. The dolls even have various hairstyles from box braids to Afros to baldies.
For Turini, she felt that it was important to pay homage to the original Black Barbie, whose name was Christie, and came wearing a red dress with an Afro and a pick. A Black Barbie hadn’t arrived on the scene until 1980. Prior to that, Barbie had been a collection of Cacuasian dolls.
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Tag yourself. I’m the curvy @barbie in a crop top. Of course || Thank you @barbiestyle for making my childhood dreams come true, customizing these @queenandslim inspired snake skin boots + bodysuits, going thru the painstaking process of giving Barbie twists and allowing me the freedom to create something special so that my community can see themselves represented in such an iconic brand. Life is good in the dream house.
When talking about the collaboration Turini stated, “I grew up obsessed with Barbie and while she was one of my first fashion icons, I clearly remember searching shelves for a doll that looked like me and coming up empty-handed.”
I feel as though it’s wonderful that we have people like Turini helping to provide young Black girls everywhere with a doll that has been symbolized as a role model for decades with skin, hair, shapes and such that look like them. It’s empowering! Introducing these dolls was a wonderful way to end Black History Month and a magnificent way to celebrate Sistahs during Women’s History Month.
By Monique Petty-Ashmeade, Senior, Brooks College Prep