Mattel Just Unveiled a Barbie Doll Honoring Dr. Maya Angelou

ShelCopeland
·3 min read
Photo credit: Mattel
Photo credit: Mattel

From Seventeen

  • Ahead of Black History Month, Mattel has revealed that they're honoring the late writer, author, activist, and teacher, Dr. Maya Angelou with a signature doll.

  • The doll is part of the company's Inspiring Women Series, as well as its initiative to “spotlight more Black role models.”

  • The doll is available now. Read below for more info on where to purchase yours.

Over the last few decades, Barbie has traded her signature bright, bubblegum pink looks for space suits, athletic gear, and even makeovers from Beyoncé's makeup artist. With time, the classic figure has evolved to reflect real, successful women. In fact, Barbie’s Inspiring Women Series specifically celebrates women who have made history, creating dolls that pay homage to everyone from Frida Kahlo to Amelia Earheart and Rosa Parks. Now, the franchise has revealed its lates honoree: Dr. Maya Angelou.

The Black doll is dressed in a floral print floor-length dress and matching head wrap, similar to the styles Dr. Angelou donned in real life. The doll also holds a replica of her memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

“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,” Barbie's manufacturing company Mattel said in a statement.

“Dr. Maya Angelou had a multi-hyphenated career and numerous awards and accolades, including over 50 honorary doctorates and a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Nominated for a National Book Award in 1970, her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings continues to move readers around the world today.”

Launched in 2018, The Inspired Women Series is "dedicated to honoring historical and present-day role models who paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger than ever before," the company said in a statement. Other past honorees have included NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson and tennis player Billie Jean King.

In addition to inspiring all youth to go after their dreams, the newest addition of Dr. Angelou aims to fulfill another commitment made by the company to the Black community. In 2020 after the death of George Floyd, many companies, including Mattel and Barbie, redirected their efforts to promote more Black voices, diversity, and inclusion. In a statement posted on Instagram, the Barbie account shared that going forward, "more than 50% of future global Role Models honored will be Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color."

In October 2020, the franchise went viral for its animated YouTube video showing Barbie discussing racism with her Black friend, Nikki. In the video, the pair discuss an instance where Barbie realizes her white privilege and supports Nikki. "White people get an advantage that they didn't earn, and Black people get a disadvantage that they don't deserve."

For collectors or fans, the Maya Angelou doll is available now for purchase online at Barbie, Amazon, or in stores at Target for $29.99.

Photo credit: Mattel
Photo credit: Mattel

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