Lay Off Soror Barbie!

Don't let outdated stereotypes about AKAs stop us from celebrating the new black doll.

Mattel's new AKA Barbie.
Mattel's new AKA Barbie.

When I’m correctly tagged as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, I’d like to think that it’s because I exude ambition, class and a belief in paying it forward.

Experience has taught me otherwise.

Some people look no further than the color of my skin and length of my hair. The stereotype of the light-skinned, long-haired AKA is an ugly one that has persisted—partly, thanks to Spike Lee’s unforgettable depiction of the vapid and vain fictional Gamma Rays in School Daze.

This image of AKA was re-ignited earlier this week when pictures surfaced of the Barbie doll thatMattel created to commemorate the sorority’s centennial year.


“If the doll is supposed to be representing a sorority for black women—why did they choose to make the doll that color,” reads the post on “And to all the proud AKAs out there—we’re not trying to start no mess. But somebody had to ask the question.”


Well, the doll in question is caramel-colored—a shade that mirrors many African-American women, including this proud AKA, as well as other African-American Barbie dolls, though not all. I would even say that “Soror Barbie” is progress. Growing up, Barbie was my favorite doll, but she rarely reflected African-American images or interests. I would treasure this AKA doll regardless of whether her color exactly matched my own. I am certain that many of my sorors share this sentiment.