One thing my mom made sure of was that I had black dolls to play with. I remember having a mountain, an almost shrine-like display of black Barbie dolls still in their cases, ranging from holiday limited editions to celebrity editions like Brandy. One of my aunts used to collect them and would send me dolls she knew I would fan girl over to add to my collection. Needless to say, when I saw this headline, my inner child smiled from ear to, as I am sure the same happened for many black women.
Image Credit: Elle
Editor, stylist, consultant and costume designer Shiona Turini celebrates Black History Month with a collaboration with Barbie Style to add to the black Barbie doll collections of young black girls everywhere.
It's a tale as old as time that black girls didn't have the options they do now for dolls and toys that looked like them. Shelves were stocked with fair complexioned dolls with all different types of hair and clothes and accessories. Unfortunately, the black and brown dolls were few and far between. It was 1980 when Turini and young black girls all over found a piece of her reflection in the first-ever black Barbie doll, dressed in red with gold accessories and donning an afro. She is even featured in the all-red part of the collection, and mama is FIERCE! In this 4-part collection with Barbie Style, Turini is able to add to the conversation surrounding black beauty and the many shades, shapes and styles it comes in.
Image Credit: Elle
âIn a statement regarding the collection, Turini had this to say: "It was important for me to reflect Barbie as an icon through the lens of black culture during Black History Month. I drew inspiration from the first black Barbie, who debuted her all-red look in 1980. My vision was to style diverse dolls in bold looks with themes seen throughout my work, like contrasting snakeskin and leopard challenging uniformity."
ââThe versatility of blackness is so vast, and a piece of that is executed beautifully. Ten black dolls of varying skin tones, hairstyles, body types + capabilities and style identities are the stars of the collection. The style direction features aesthetics present in Turini's own style as well as her work, an extensive catalog of fawn-worthy sartorial moments that include Queen and Slim, Solange's "Cranes in the Sky" + "Don't Touch My Hair" visuals and BeyoncÃ©'s "Formation" music video. The color stories also feature scenes of soft springtime hues, head-to-toe black, fiery red and a beautiful pink mauve/nude/snakeskin moment that makes the melanin pop.
Representation matters, even on the toy aisles. Congratulations to Shiona Turini and the Barbie brand on such an amazing collaboration and display of blackness. We love to see it!
âIn honor of 40 years of the black Barbie, check out the first ever black fashion Barbie doll to hit the market, ushering in a new era for black girls and their dolls everywhere!
Image Credit: Instagram / @mattel
Welcome to FashionSinatra.com. I write about fashion things and elements of the culture that move me. Enjoy!