Tag: Mattel

American Girl’s “Girl of the Year” for 2017 is African-American Doll Gabriela McBride

The new American Girl doll Gabriela McBride is a dancer and poet, inspiring girls to use their voice to help others. (COURTESY OF AMERICAN GIRL )

article by Constance Gibbs via nydailynews.com

Dollmaker American Girl named its “Girl of the Year” Friday, revealing a new African-American doll named Gabriela McBride.  She’s the first Girl of the Year doll since 2011 who wasn’t white. American Girl, a Mattel-owned company, sells the popular — but expensive, at $115 a pop — 18-inch dolls that aim to teach young girls about different historical eras and perspectives. The dolls also come with books, outfits, and accessories to personalize each one.

American Girl dolls have always been hot sellers, but there has been resurgence in popularity in the last few years. Mattel said in October that American Girl sales were up 15% in the last year.  Gabriela McBride, the company’s newest addition to its “Girl of the Year” line — dolls that are sold just for one year — has a back story in which she dances, teaches children about poetry, and wants to save her community center.

Gabriela comes with a book and dance related accessories.
Gabriela comes with a book and dance related accessories.  (COURTESY OF AMERICAN GIRL)

“The goal has always been to be able to create mirrors and windows for girls to see either a direct reflection of themselves or a window into a life or a culture that may be different from their own,” Stephanie Spanos, an American Girl spokesperson told The Daily News.  Gabriela follows previous diverse “Girls of the Year” Marisol, a Latina girl (2005), and two Japanese-American dolls from 2006 and 2011.

It’s also the first time three black dolls — Gabriela, Melody, the Civil Rights era doll introduced this year, and Addy, a former slave — are on the market at the same time.

“Overall, we’re just really proud to feature a diverse and inclusive set of dolls,” Spanos told the News.

Other permanent dolls of color include native Nez Perce girl Kaya and Mexican Josefina. An African-American and a Chinese-American doll were both archived in 2014.

To read full article, go to: American Girl diversifies with new African-American doll – NY Daily News

Prima Ballerina Misty Copeland Gets Her Own Barbie Doll

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Misty Copeland and her doll (photo courtesy MATTEL INC.)

article by Yesha Callahan via theroot.com

Misty Copeland has been immortalized by Mattel. The Barbie creator debuted its Misty Copeland doll today and, like Ava DuVernay’s doll, it’ll likely fly off the shelves.

The doll that honors Copeland, who made history when she became the first African-American woman to be named principal dancer at the world-renowned American Ballet Theatre, is just another step in Mattel’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and part of its Sheroes Collection.

“I always dreamed of becoming an ABT ballerina, and through Barbie, I was able to play out those dreams early on,” Copeland said in a press release. “It’s an honor to be able to inspire the next generation of kids with my very own Barbie doll.”

The Misty Copeland doll will is available for preorder on Amazon.com and Mattel’s site.

Ava DuVernay’s Barbie Doll Sells Out Minutes After Hitting the Market

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Ava DuVernay Barbie (MATTEL)

Many people were eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Ava DuVernay doll Monday. From refreshing constantly on the Barbie Collection website to waiting for Mattel to release the link on Twitter, some were left disappointed when it came to actually being able to buy the doll. But there were others who were lucky as well as fast enough to purchase the doll.

Twenty minutes after Mattel tweeted the link to its Barbie site, DuVernay’s doll was sold out. Potential customers tweeted their anguish and dismay after not being able to make their purchase. Then Mattel informed everyone that the doll would be available shortly at Amazon.com.

Some people waited for Mattel to release the Amazon link, while others searched on Amazon for the doll. And there it was, available for preorder. Once word got around on social media that the doll was already on Amazon, it was every eager consumer for him or herself. Around 1:30 p.m. EST, Mattel finally tweeted the link to the Amazon.com site. But it was too late; the doll was already sold out.

More tears. More disappointment for those eagerly waiting to get their hands on the doll.

https://twitter.com/direct7000/status/673989886748131329?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

I’m pretty sure Mattel didn’t expect the doll to sell out, especially since the company hadn’t planned to mass-produce the doll. But how often is a doll made in the likeness of a great black filmmaker on the market? How about never.

The fact that DuVernay’s doll sold out within minutes of its release is a testament to the fact that representation matters. People want to see dolls in their image and in the image of those people they admire. If Mattel wants to continue to make an impact, someone in its R&D department better start doling out ideas about how to jump on this.

A DuVernay doll is just the beginning.

How about a Viola Davis doll? A Kerry Washington doll? A Denzel Washington doll? A Neil deGrasse Tyson? Idris Elba, anyone?

Remember back in the day when Cabbage Patch Kids dolls were all the rage? On Monday, DuVernay’s doll and the anticipation were the equivalent. Instead of fighting in stores, people were fighting against the clock and how fast they could refresh their browsers.

This tweet perfectly summed up the day:

article by Yesha Callahan via theroot.com

“KC Undercover” Star Zendaya Coleman is Getting Her Very Own Barbie Doll

Zendaya Coleman at 2014 Oscars; sketch of Barbie doll inspired by her (source: twitter.com)
Zendaya Coleman at 2014 Oscars; sketch of Barbie doll inspired by her (source: twitter.com)

Zendaya Coleman, the nineteen year-old star of Disney series “KC Undercover”, singer and former finalist on ABC’s “Dancing With The Stars” will now, according to Billboard.com, be immortalized as a one-of-a-kind Barbie doll.  Manufacturing company Mattel announced on Twitter that Barbie will commemorate Zendaya’s elegance and poise from the iconic 2015 Oscars moment when she responded to critics about her dreadlocks.

During a recent visit to the Mattel offices, Zendaya discussed her relationship with Barbie growing up:

“When I was little, I didn’t have one that looked like me, so I couldn’t connect with her in that way. But getting to visit the Mattel offices and see Barbie’s vision for the future…I was able to see how they plan to diversify, broadening the horizons and the image of Barbie, and make it more, you know, open. I left the office feeling it was definitely something I wanted to be a part of.”

Z will host an upcoming VH1’s Save The Music benefit entitled “Barbie Rock ‘N Royals Concert Experience” on Sept. 26 in Los Angeles, during which the doll will be on display.

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Taofick Okoya’s “Queens of Africa” Dolls are Taking on Barbie

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Queens of Africa, the black doll line that’s outselling Barbie in Nigeria, started as a personal mission seven years ago. Taofick Okoya was frustrated that he couldn’t find a black doll on the market for his niece. “I happen to be the kind of person that doesn’t enjoy complaining and criticizing without taking any action,” the 43-year-old businessman tells ELLE.com. So he researched making a doll that Nigerian girls could identify with: one with their skin color and traditional African fashion.

“It became a frontline project for me due to the resistance the dolls received because of their color and outfits from most children and distributors,” he explains. “I spent about two years campaigning on the importance and benefits of dolls in the African likeness. During that process, I realized greater social issues such as low self esteem, which led to the passion to make a change in the coming generation. It’s been a tough journey but one I have enjoyed.”

Okoya created two lines of dolls, Queens of Africa (which come with three outfits, four accessories, and cost 1,300 to 3,500 naira, or $6.75 to $18.18) and Naija Princesses (which come with two outfits, two accessories, and cost 500-1,000 naira, or $2.60 to $5.19). Each doll represents a different African tribe (Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa).

Okoya sells 6,000 to 9,000 dolls a month, Reuters reports—10 to 15 percent of Nigeria’s small but growing toy market, by Okoya’s estimation. The dolls have quite a few fans. Okoya shares one’s testimony: “Usually the black dolls are so dark, I don’t buy them because they look nothing like me. I think that if they had maybe a better variety of black dolls with different colors like yours, that would be a lot better. No two black people are the same color: Some have darker and some have lighter pigments. Like many other African Americans, I have never found a doll that really fits me ’till now.”

Continue reading “Taofick Okoya’s “Queens of Africa” Dolls are Taking on Barbie”

Harlem Mom Calls On Toymaker to Create Black Barbie Party Supplies

karen braithwaiteWhen Karen Braithwaite (pictured) could not find party supplies for her daughter’s fifth birthday gathering with images of Black Barbies, she took her gripe to Change.org and YouTube in order to twist the corporate arm of the famed doll’s manufacturer, reports CBS New York.

The Harlem-based, 40-year-old human resources manager could not fathom why the toy company makes Black Barbie dolls but failed to create a culturally diverse line of party goods that would follow suit. She refused to purchase supplies with images of blond-haired, blue-eyed Barbies for her daughter, Georgia (pictured), despite the child’s insistence.

Braithwaite is at the helm of the group of 14 Harlem moms who have taken up their concerns with Mattel. The Change.org online petition that Braithwaite started last month has thus far garnered nearly 5,000 signatures. The request has reportedly not fallen on deaf ears and the toy maker, which manufactured its first African-American doll, Christie, in 1968, is reportedly considering the move to create the cultural party supplies.

article via newsone.com

On Mattel’s social media page, the company tweeted two replies to people who brought the issue to their attention: “We work closely with our partners to develop and distribute Barbie products such as party supplies,” and “We will be sharing your valuable feedback with them to start conversations and evaluate the business.”

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