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Is Mattel’s Black Barbie Offensive?

Submitted by on October 4, 2009 – 3:58 pm9 Comments


Mattel‘s new and improved black Barbie line was introduced this week, and is being criticized by some African American girls as going too far with its associated hip hop accessories.

The New York Daily News showed off the new “So In Style” trio of dolls – Grace, Kara and Trichelle – to several girls to get some feedback. The consensus was that there was too much “hip-hop” on the doll.

Not all black people like hip hop,” said Barbara Mootoo, 15, of Manhattan, looking at Kara’s silver rope chain necklace. “They gave her a chain like a 50 Cent video.”

Tyaine Danclaire, 15, of the Bronx, liked Trichelle’s straight, long hair because it looked like “a weave,” but she thought the idea “was sorta racist.”

They say black girls are ghetto with the gold earrings, with the big bling; I don’t agree with that,” she said. [Eurweb]

All good points. So, I must ask — is it uncool to be hip-hop now? Jay-Z doesn’t run rap anymore, he’s runs the map, Drake is an actor, acting like a rapper and his partner-in-rhyme likes to kiss his daddy. The list goes on. While black kids now have dolls with “authentic-looking facial features” – do these Beyoncé Barbies reinforce certain stereotypes?

Here’s what Nikki Wright, 12, of East Harlem had to say:

They look like people where we live,” the seventh-grader told the Daily News. “I wear big earrings. The weave. Things that we use.”

What do YOU think? Are these Barbies offensive or have we grown increasingly sensitive when it comes to issues of race and beauty? Check out this video below and share your thoughts in the comments section:

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