Acclaimed writer, poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou has become the latest famous figure to be immortalised in Barbie form – following in the footsteps of other real-life heroines Rosa Parks, Ella Fitzgerald and Florence Nightingale in toymaker Mattel’s line of Inspiring Women dolls.
The new Barbie features a “curvy body” and face “sculpted to Dr Angelou’s likeness”, is dressed in a colourful floral print dress and matching head scarf, and comes holding a miniature version of Angelou’s groundbreaking autobiography Why The Caged Bird Sings.
A recipient of the US’s presidential medal of freedom, Angelou was described by Mattel as an “inspiration for what kids can achieve when they speak up, stand out, and refuse to be silenced”. While Angelou herself died in 2014, her son Guy Johnson said in a statement that he hoped his mother’s doll would “inspire new generations of teachers, writers and activists”.
The Maya Angelou doll also represents part of Mattel’s commitment to featuring more women of colour in the Inspiring Women series; they’ve stated that over fifty percent of their global role model dolls going forward will be black, indigenous and women of colour.
In the meantime, the presidential inauguration has had us brainstorming plenty of other trailblazing women we’d love to see added to Barbie’s Inspiring Women series in the future – so how about the US’s first female vice president Kamala Harris, former first lady Michelle Obama, or America’s first ever National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman next?