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Black Is In? January 26, 2009

Filed under: Barbie,Black dolls,children,Malia,Sasha — R.D. @ 7:00 pm
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Black is in, according to Larry King, but no one wants to admit President Obama’s role in ushering what I hope becomes more than a seasonal fashion trend that will be passe by the end of his term.

So far two companies, Beanie Babies and Mattel Inc. have launched a line of black dolls. However, both companies assert that the timing of the creation of their dolls has nothing to do with the election of the nation’s first black president.

What does the sudden spotlight on African-American dolls mean for little girls? African-American girls? Will little black girls now see girls of every hue playing with brown dolls? Will mothers who are not black allow their children to own black dolls? What if their children come to prefer black dolls over white dolls in a classic reversal of Kenneth Clark’s doll test. ?


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Mattel To Launch New Line Of African-American Barbie Dolls

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