The month of February would not be complete without talking about Barbie. The month would not be truly Black as we need it to be without talking about Barbie!
I played with Barbie as a girl, and loved the whole world Barbie had and was created for her. The thing is, the first doll my parents–Black, in love and educated–got me was White.
What you have to remember is about 40 years ago, yes there were Black Barbies–but they weren’t always available in the store, or they would be hidden. It is the oddest type of separate but equal. To find a Black Barbie was like finding gold! With that limited access to her, you had make due with Becky Barbie.
My first actual Black Barbie was given to me by my godmother, Karen. I was amazed at this little doll that was so pretty. I remember it was a Peaches & Cream Barbie: she wore this big pretty gown that was apricot and peach colored. She was exquiste.
If she was pretty, then I was pretty.
I know this phrase is becoming cliche, but it cannot be said enough to people whom are classified or delegated as minority:
Every Black girl deserves to see themselves, as they are or can be, in the world they inhabit. They deserve to see themselves in all aspects of this life or the life they want. There is nothing wrong with wanting to see the best versions of yourself in the world you are expected to negotiate. It is not wrong for Black children to want to play with a toy that looks like them. It is not wrong for a Black girl to be taught to love her skin, her hair and her features.
I mean, she will see them on the faces and bodies of girls that don’t look like them! Why should not love what she has to be enamored of it on someone else? Barbie, having a Black Barbie, is subtle warfare against self-hatred for Black girls.
Maybe this is the reason I still love a good pair of shoes.
[images from hypehair.com]