The second BMR1959 collection from Barbie just launched and according to the brand, this second installment serves the freshest new looks to celebrate the fashion heritage of Barbie, capturing the nostalgia of the 90s with a bold, modern aesthetic.
Of course, most of us noticed that one of the dolls had Bantu knots and baby hair which was without a doubt a nod to black culture.
The comments were mixed on the post, some commenters loved the changes noting that they were already pre-ordering and how awesome it was to see diverse representation. Others thought it was appropriation:
“Finally, a barbie that feels like me,” a fan commented. “First of all!!!??? Bantu Knots!?…#iSTAN,” said another fan. “Already pre-ordered mine!”
“I absolutely adore everything about this??”
“Preordered mine on Amazon I literally am so excited to get her i can barely contain it! ????”
“This is cultural appropriation to the highest degree. Get some black people on your team to let y’all know this not okay,”
Earlier this month the brand shared that it was working to ensure that diversity was represented in retail and that they were committed to creating and highlighting more images of diverse dolls and talent.
They also committed to hiring more black consultants to advise them with regards to products, programming, and content.
It is our responsibility to do more in the united fight against racism. The past couple of weeks have been a catalyst, encouraging our team to take a deeper look and evaluate where we can do better to support the Black community.
Research shows, starting at the age of five, girls stop believing that their gender can be anything. This issue is called the ‘Dream Gap.’
Early indicators suggest that for Black girls, the impact is even larger and this self-perception at a young age can be detrimental. We are committed to dedicating resources and continuing to fund research that helps us to better understand how to help Black girls close the Dream Gap.
Diversity and inclusion must be the foundation of all that we do, and we will continue to fight to remove any barriers that prevent the next generation from reaching their full potential. Actions we plan to take include:
Increasing Black Representation Across Product, Content, Programming & People
While great strides have been made in our product and content over the past few years to better reflect the world girls see around them, there is more to be done.
Today one in five dolls developed by the brand is Black. We’re committed to working with our retail partners to ensure that diversity is represented everywhere you find our products.
Moving forward, we will introduce a prominent Black lead in content and publishing to ensure girls see themselves as lead characters. We will also leverage the platform of Barbie the character who, as a Role Model, can tackle important and nuanced conversations around race and racism.
We will elevate existing Black voices on our team and continue to build and grow an organization that truly represents the diverse world we live in at all levels. We know this takes time, so in the interim, we are focused on bringing in more Black consultants who will advise on product, content and programming.
Across our marketing and advertising, we will highlight more images of diverse dolls and talent and will work with more Black vendors and partners.
Spotlighting More Black Role Models
Through our global platform, we remain dedicated to honoring real-life female role models and amplifying their stories to inspire girls.
Over the past year, more than half of the women we’ve honored as Barbie Role Models in the U.S. have been Black. Women previously honored include Ibtihaj Muhammad, Gabby Douglas, Rosa Parks, Ella Fitzgerald and Katherine Johnson.
Going forward, we commit that more than 50% of future global Role Models honored will be Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color.
Dedicating Resources to Further Support Black Girls
In 2018, we launched the Barbie Dream Gap Project to support girls in reaching their limitless potential through research, curriculum, programming, and funding.
To start, we plan to further our financial commitment by doubling our annual Dream Gap donation to $500,000 to directly impact the Black community.
To take action and make an impact now, we are donating $250,000 to NAACP youth programs. Looking forward, we will commit proceeds from future product sales and programs of at least $250,000 to fund educational programs focused on supporting Black girls. We are currently vetting organizations to partner with us on this commitment.
We know that more research into systemic barriers impacting Black girls is needed and we will commission additional research that specifically targets and identifies actionable solutions that we can all take to help close the Dream Gap for Black girls.
We cannot achieve our mission to inspire the limitless potential in every girl without acknowledging the barriers and racism that impact Black girls, specifically.
What do you think of Barbie’s new collection? Pre-order here.