Just in time for Black Business Month, Barbie is paying tribute to entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist Madam C.J. Walker with an Inspiring Women doll. Beginning today, the dolls will be available at Walmart, Target, Amazon, Mattel Creations and retail for $35.
Barbie’s Inspiring Women Series™ was created to honor courageous women throughout history who continue to impact future generations. Some past honorees include Dr. Maya Angelou, Ella Fitzgerald and Rosa Parks. “As a pioneer in entrepreneurship, philanthropy and activism, creating the blueprint for the self-made American businesswoman and innovators of the twentieth century, Madam C.J. Walker is an embodiment of our Barbie Inspiring Women series,” said Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel shared in a statement with The Root. “We’re honored to welcome her into this group of trailblazing women and introduce more kids to her journey of becoming one of the nation’s first widely successful female founders.”
Born Sarah Breedlove, Madam C.J. Walker made history as the country’s first verified self-made millionaire. After suffering from a scalp condition that caused her to lose most of her hair, Walker developed a scalp conditioning treatment specifically for Black women that she says appeared to her in a dream. She made her way through the South, selling her products door to door until she eventually set up shop in Indianapolis and built a factory, salon and training school.
In order to make sure the doll was an accurate representation of Walker’s likeness, the folks at Barbie worked closely with A’Lelia Bundles, Walker’s great-great-granddaughter and founder of the MADAM by Madam C.J. Walker line of hair care products. Bundles advised them on some of Walker’s favorite colors, personal preferences and provided some rare photos to help with the doll’s design. And the result is a stunning likeness holding a doll-sized replica of Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower product.
“It was a joy to work with Barbie on the design and creation of an Inspiring Women doll made in the likeness of my great-great grandmother,” said Bundles, who is also Madame CJ Walker’s official biographer. “Their design team graciously welcomed me throughout all steps of the process – from hair development to packaging – to capture and celebrate the legacy of this trailblazing Black businesswoman. I can’t wait for a new generation to be inspired by her story and to tell their own stories through a role model who came before them.”