Lay Off Soror Barbie!

Don't let outdated stereotypes about AKAs stop us from celebrating the new black doll.

Mattel's new AKA Barbie.

During the centennial celebration starting this week in Washington, D.C., thousands of our members, covering a variety of hues along the color spectrum, will be on display—shattering the insidious stereotype.


It is the wealth of talent that women across generations bring to Alpha Kappa Alpha that has sustained the sorority for 100 years. Reducing AKAs to little more than a group of women linked by skin color and hair length—a group of women who could “pass a paper bag test”—is not only demeaning and offensive, but it dismisses the continuing relevance of black Greek-letter organizations.


My own interest in Alpha Kappa Alpha was sparked when I was a little girl, blissfully unaware of the politics of skin color.


I couldn’t have been more than 8 or 9 years old when a Girl Scout leader asked me if my mother was an AKA, saying that she resembled one of her sorors. I idolized the Girl Scout leader and decided that one day I, too, would be an AKA.


Ten years ago, my dream of joining the sorority came true. I felt that I’d come full circle when I was finally able to address the Girl Scout leader who had been one of my inspirations as “Soror.”