Mattel Just Launched a New Barbie Doll That Honors Maya Angelou

Ahead of Black History Month, the toy manufacturer has added the late writer, author, activist, and teacher Dr. Maya Angelou to their Inspiring Women Series.

An image of the Maya Angelou Barbie.
Photo: Mattel, Inc.

Over the years, Barbie has been an astronaut, a gym rat, a presidential nominee, and the owner of a dreamy house in Malibu, but now her brand is inspiring kids on a whole new level. Upon surveying 8,000 mothers and finding out that 86 percent of them are worried about what kind of role models their daughters are exposed to, the company launched their Inspiring Women Series in 2018. The series' mission: honor "historical and present-day role models who paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger than ever before." The collection previously included history-making icons like Rosa Parks, Ella Fitzgerald, and Sally Ride. Now, just ahead of Black History Month 2021, Mattel is honoring the late poet, memoirist, and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou.

Angelou's Black doll wears a floral print dress and matching headwrap—an outfit that closely mirrors what the Phenomenal Woman author wore. She also holds a mini replica of her memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

In a statement on the doll's debut, Mattel noted, "Our efforts include a commitment to spotlight more Black role models who are female, and now, we are introducing a doll that honors Dr. Maya Angelou, author and activist who used her voice and unique writing style to connect with people and inspire generations."

They continued, "Dr. Maya Angelou had a multi-hyphenated career and numerous awards and accolades, including over 50 honorary doctorates and a Presidential Medal of Freedom. Nominated for a National Book Award in 1970, her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings continues to move readers around the world today."

The premiere of the Dr. Angelou doll comes in the wake of Mattel and Barbie's June 2020 statement voicing their commitment to the Black community and noting that going forward, "more than 50 percent of future global Role Models honored will be Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color."

And in October, the company released an animated PSA featuring Barbie and her Black friend Nikki discussing white privilege.

Fans, both young and old, are sure to benefit from the company's commitment to sharing such important and inspiring messages through their products and media. The Dr. Maya Angelou doll is available now for purchase online at Barbie, Amazon, or in stores at Target for $29.99.

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