Tag Archives: barbie

Barbie Girls: Lil’ Kim, Nicki Minaj, and Mattel

by Guest Contributor Sarah Todd, originally published at Girls Like Giants

Since Azealia Banks’ 2011 breakout hit “212″ captured my heart, mind, soul, and dancing feet, I’ve been reading up on the 20-year-old rapper and soon-to-be superstar. Almost every interviewer asks Banks about Nicki Minaj, which gets old fast for her, you, me, and the bourgeoisie. (With the possible addition of our lady Rye-Rye, they are the only two black female rappers currently generating major mainstream buzz. They also went to the same “Fame” high school in NYC. Ergo, endless comparisons.)

But one comment Banks made about Minaj in an interview with GQ UK stuck out to me:

It could just be that we were both inspired by Lil’ Kim. She did her thing with it, but I was kind of going to do a little bit of that same thing, with the characters, the pink and the Barbies. I wrote a song called “Barbie S***”. I was thinking “I’m going be black Barbie, that’s going to be my thing.” Then all of a sudden she [released it]! I was like, “F***! Did she have someone on my MySpace page? Is someone watching my Twitter? This is way too coincidental!”

The characters, the pink, the Barbie: was it really such a coincidence? I’m not so sure. As Banks notes, Lil’ Kim rapped about being “Black Barbie dressed in Bulgari” back in the early double-0s. There’s a French rapper who goes by the name Black Barbie. Atlanta rapper Diamond calls herself “black Barbie,” too. All signs point to the fact that Barbie’s big in the hip-hop world.

This common denominator set my mind whirring. What is it about Barbie–as a name, image, and persona–that appeals to these rappers? And what, exactly, does claiming a black Barbie identity mean in the context of hip-hop culture? For the purposes of this post, I’ll limit myself to talking about how Minaj and Lil’ Kim–who also happen to be two of my favorite rappers–use Barbie to represent and challenge mainstream standards of beauty and femininity. Continue reading

Bad Sign Language: Why We’re Not Loving This McDonalds/Barbie Collaboration

By Arturo R. García

Film critic Kartina Richardson sent us a link to the picture above, taken at a McDonald’s restaurant during a recent visit.

“We’re not as race conscious as we think,” she wrote. In fact, it demonstrates that neither Barbie nor McDonald’s has learned much in the wake of other race-related rows.
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For Your Women’s History Month: Black Moses Barbie Is Back!

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid

This is the second installation of Pierre Bennu’s Black Moses Barbie series.  In this ep: Black Moses Barbie has to use her Motivational Freedom Rifle…but not on whom you’d think.

Black Moses Barbie commercial #2 of 3 from pierre bennu on Vimeo.

Transcript after the jump.

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For Your Black History Month: Black Moses Barbie

By Sexual Correspondent Andrea (AJ) Plaid

I first saw this on my Twitter pal Ludovic Blain‘s Facebook page and fell off my work stool in laughter. Perhaps I was dead wrong for doing so, but I’ll own it. Check it out:

Black Moses Barbie (Harriet Tubman Commercial) (1 of 3) from pierre bennu on Vimeo.

This is the blurb:

This mock commercial for a Black Moses Barbie toy celebrating the legacy of Harriet Tubman is part of Pierre Bennu’s larger series of paintings and films deconstructing and re-envisioning images of people of color in commercial and pop culture.

Two more commercials for this hypothetical toy will be posted throughout Black History Month 2011.

The transcript after the jump.

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Mattel Falls Short With S.I.S (So In Style) Line Black Barbies

by Guest Contributor Seattle Slim, originally published at Happy Nappy Head

While checking out Bossip, I saw a link to an article at HipHopWired about Mattel’s new line of black Barbies, S.I.S or So InStyle.

You already know I was hesitant to get my hopes up, and that hesitation was warranted.

I am not one to complain about any and everything. However, as someone who would’ve sold my little brother and my first born child for the newest Barbie when I was a wee lass, I expected Mattel to come better than this. You know why? Because I know they can do better.


When I was about 13 years old, my mom bought me Barbie’s special edition Kenyan Barbie from their their Dolls Around the World collection. My mom didn’t give a damn what I did with the other “chocolate” covered Barbies. She cared about this one, and she was and still is prized. She was the first Barbie doll that I felt accurately reflected my features and aesthetics. Sure, I had black and white Barbies, but they all looked like the white Barbies, except for her.

I was so excited that Mattel had put in that work. I always hoped they would strive to make black Barbies look, well, black. It never really happened, as those Barbies always had something that “exoticized” them.
I remember looking at one of them and thinking, “Okay…so she must be mixed then?” It was alright, I guess. My grandfather has blue eyes, and he’s very dark-skinned, so I figured the Barbies had the same background as him.  However, I do not have blue eyes. I didn’t have long, wavy hair that had little no kink in it (unless I relaxed of course). Naturally, black Barbie’s appearance was something that stuck with me, and I wished I could look more “other” than I really was.
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