Mattel is honouring the writer, author, activist, and teacher, Dr Maya Angelou with the launch of a special Barbie created in her likeness, in order to celebrate the figure best known for using her voice and writing style to inspire generations of Americans.
The new launch is part of Barbie’s ongoing Inspiring Women series and lands ahead of Black History Month. The Maya Angelou doll holds a miniature replica of her autobiography and wears a head wrap and floor-length dress with floral print.
As part of Barbie’s 2020 commitment to the Black community, the brand pledged to spotlight more Black role models and, moving forward, more than 50 per cent of global role models featured will be Black, Indigenous and Women of Color.
“Barbie knows that kids’ early childhood experiences shape what they imagine to be possible, so it’s important that all girls not only see themselves reflected in product and content, but also see inspiring role models who have come before them,” read a statement from the firm.
Barbie debuted its Inspiring Women Series in 2018 with a doll line dedicated to honouring historical and present-day role models who have paved the way for generations of girls. The series has so far paid tribute to a diverse line-up of women, including Amelia Earhart, Katherine Johnson, Frida Kahlo, Rosa Parks, Sally Ride, Billie Jean King, Ella Fitzgerald, Florence Nightingale, and Susan B. Anthony.
“Diversity and inclusion must be the foundation of all that we do. We will continue to stand united in the fight against racism and dedicate resources to directly impact the Black community, such as funding through the Dream Gap Project Fund, to help remove barriers that prevent the next generation from reaching their full potential,” continued Mattel.
“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.”
Dr. Maya Angelou had a multi-hyphenated career and numerous award wins 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.