Little-Known Facts About Black History, Culture, Inventions, and More!

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The Original Black Barbie Doll Debuted in 1980

Original Black Barbie doll

Mattel, one of the largest manufacturers of toys in the country, released the original Black Barbie® doll in 1980. Though beloved friends of Barbie® – like Christie and Francie – were introduced over the preceding decades, this was the first black fashion doll to be hailed as Barbie® herself.

She wore a stylish red dress and had her hair in a curly afro hairstyle; she sparked a new era of possibility for girls everywhere.

To celebrate the doll's 40th anniversary, in 2020, Mattel released a 40th Anniversary First Black Barbie® doll fitted with a flowing, red trumpet-styled gown with cut-away sleeves, inspired by her iconic outfit. Her hair was styled in a sophisticated up-do, a subtle nod to her original look.

Finishing touches included golden hoop earrings, a necklace, and a matching clutch. The anniversary doll captured the doll’s original signature statement: “She’s black, she’s beautiful, she’s dynamite!” It came with a doll stand and Certificate of Authenticity.