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Mattel To Launch New Line Of African-American Barbie Dolls January 26, 2009

Filed under: Barbie,Black dolls,Malia,Sasha — R.D. @ 6:30 pm
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January 23, 2009 · CNN MONEY

Mattel Inc. (MAT) will launch its first complete line of African-American Barbie dolls, a company representative said Thursday.

The line, which features three adult dolls, was previewed in a video at the Mattel and Fisher-Price Sneak-Peak Tour in New York one day after America’s first African-American president, Barack Obama, took office.

The “So in Style” dolls, expected to be released in fall 2009, come with little sisters as part of a mentorship theme.

The company has shown the dolls to prominent women in the African-American community to ensure their authenticity and in an effort to possibly recruit a spokesperson for the new line, the Mattel representative said. The company wouldn’t release the names of the women it consulted.

While Obama’s election shows a diminishing racial divide in America, the company representative said, the doll line was conceived prior to Obama’s announcement that he intended to run for office.

The line was inspired by Mattel toy designer Stacey McBride. The price of the new line will be in the same range as other Barbie lines.

The line differs from the company’s prior releases of African-American toys, in part, because of its facial features. As an example, the toys have fuller lips and different cheek bone placement and nose structure.

The company has shown the line to several retailers and said many have responded well, the company said.

In 1968, Mattel introduced an African-American doll named Christie, according to the company’s Web site.

-By Aja Carmichael, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-5218; aja.carmichael@ dowjones.com

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