Many people were eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Ava DuVernay doll Monday. From refreshing constantly on the Barbie Collection website to waiting for Mattel to release the link on Twitter, some were left disappointed when it came to actually being able to buy the doll. But there were others who were lucky as well as fast enough to purchase the doll.
Twenty minutes after Mattel tweeted the link to its Barbie site, DuVernay’s doll was sold out. Potential customers tweeted their anguish and dismay after not being able to make their purchase. Then Mattel informed everyone that the doll would be available shortly at Amazon.com.
Some people waited for Mattel to release the Amazon link, while others, like myself, searched on Amazon for the doll. And there it was, available for preorder. Once word got around on social media that the doll was already on Amazon, it was every eager consumer for him- or herself. Around 1:30 p.m. EST, Mattel finally tweeted the link to the Amazon.com site. But it was too late; the doll was already sold out.
More tears. More disappointment for those eagerly waiting to get their hands on the doll.
I’m pretty sure Mattel didn’t expect the doll to sell out, especially since the company hadn’t planned to mass-produce the doll. But how often is a doll made in the likeness of a great black filmmaker on the market? How about never.
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The fact that DuVernay’s doll sold out within minutes of its release is a testament to the fact that representation matters. People want to see dolls in their image and in the image of those people they admire. If Mattel wants to continue to make an impact, someone in its R&D department better start doling out ideas about how to jump on this.
A DuVernay doll is just the beginning.
How about a Viola Davis doll? A Kerry Washington doll? A Denzel Washington doll? A Neil deGrasse Tyson? Idris Elba, anyone?
Remember back in the day when Cabbage Patch Kids dolls were all the rage? On Monday, DuVernay’s doll and the anticipation were the equivalent. Instead of fighting in stores, people were fighting against the clock and how fast they could refresh their browsers.
This tweet perfectly summed up the day:
Not only do people want black dolls, but they want black dolls in the likeness of people they admire.