Culture / People

Barbie announces addition to the Inspiring Women series – honouring prolific Black author and activist, Dr Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou Barbie

Prolific Black author, civil rights activist and celebrated poet, Dr Maya Angelou has been announced as the latest addition to the Inspiring Women series; an initiative birthed by children's toy brand, Barbie.

Manufacturer Mattel is paying tribute to the late great author’s activism and professional achievements – sharing her legacy and the historical impact of her work with younger generations. Ahead of America's Black History Month, which begins in February, the toy giant shared in a press release that they are continuing their commitment to honouring notable role models – particularly those of colour – who inspire young people to dream big.

“Our efforts include a commitment to spotlight more Black role models who are female, and now, we are introducing a doll that honours Dr. Maya Angelou, author and activist who used her voice and unique writing style to connect with people and inspire generations,” Mattel said in a press release.

"[Mattel] knows children's early childhood experiences shape what they imagine to be possible, so it's important that all girls not only see themselves reflected in product and content, but to also see role models who've come before them."


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Capturing Dr Angelou's likeness, the honorary doll is adorned in floor-length floral print dress with matching headdress, complete with a golden ring, watch, earrings, and a bracelet. The final, and unmissable touch, is a miniature replica of her landmark autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which she holds in her hands.

Seven years after her passing in 2014 at age 86, Maya Angelou joins the Barbie hall of fame among the likes of aviator Amelia Earhart, NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, civil rights icon Rosa Parks and suffragette Susan B. Anthony. With more than 50 honorary doctorates and a Presidential Medal of Freedom to her name, her induction within the Inspiring Women series is not only fitting, but feels deeply necessary.

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