Friday, October 2, 2009


Citing her own positive experiences playing with Barbie dolls as a child, Stacey McBride-Irby, a Barbie designer for the past 12 years, has now created her own Barbie line, So In Style. There used to be a time when African American dolls were hard to find; now, there are a number of offerings for black girls to play with, including So In Style, which further diversifies the offering.

The So In Style line boasts a "positive play experience," where girls are not only inspired by their trendy playmates but are also exposed to a toy that actually mirrors their African American features. The dolls, with their hip kicks, stylish poses and modern accessories (i.e., hoop earrings and neck chains), offer a contemporary cultural experience for girls.

According to a New York Daily News article, though, some of these "modernities" are not being wholeheartedly embraced. Some are arguing that the dolls draw on the wrong things and have too many "rap-inspired details":"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."

Another feature being criticized is the long, flowing hair of each doll: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."
Dodging the controversy, McBride-Irby exclusively maintains to Black Voices why her new line of dolls should be the next present to the beloved little girl in your life:

1 comment:

D7ana said...

I don't see these Barbie-associated Black dolls as being any more racist than the Black Barbies in the Dolls of the World collections.

On the other hand, I don't find them more "authentic" than other Black Barbies - some of whom come from the same head mold. Tsk. The limited variation of hair types was disappointing. Mattel has done better and more varied hair treatments.