New black Barbies get mixed reviews
NEW YORK - Mattel has launched a new line of black Barbie dolls with fuller lips, a wider nose, and more pronounced cheek bones - a far cry from Christie, Barbie’s black friend who debuted in the 1960s and was essentially a white doll painted brown.
The “So In Style’’ line, which hit retailers last month, features BFFs Grace, Kara, and Trichelle, each with her own interests and a little sister she mentors. The dolls reflect varying skin tones - light brown, chocolate, and caramel - and Trichelle and Kianna have curlier hair.
Barbie designer Stacey McBride-Irby, who is black and has a 6-year-old daughter, said she wanted to create a line of dolls for young black girls that looked like them and were inspirational and career-minded.
Many black women are praising Mattel for its efforts. But some say the dolls with long straight hair are not “black enough’’ and do not address the beauty issues that many black girls struggle with. In the black community, long straight hair is often considered more beautiful than short kinky hair.