Rejoice! Natural Hair Dolls Are Finally Here


Natural hair BarbieWhen Tween Girl was a small fry, I got on this kick of buying her collector Barbies, which I always said I wouldn’t do. It’s cruel to purchase a toy for a kid and then deny them the joy of shredding the box open, pulling it out in great excitement, playing with it for 15, maybe 20 minutes, then leaving it abandoned in some obscure area of the house because something better caught their attention. It’s part of the fun of being a child.

But there I was, all over that Nigerian Barbie in the Dolls of the World series because she was beautiful, she had on traditional garb, and, to top it all off, she had a little Afro puff, just like Miss Skylar did at the time. Now she done grown up and is too cool for them, which is too bad, because natural hair dolls are here! They have dreadlocks, like she does! They’re not homely or crazy-looking! They’re great and I’m excited. I might still buy her one, just for old times' sake. 

Granted, these dolls have been out for quite some time and you won’t be running across them anytime soon in your local Toys R Us. In fact, I had to do a little searching around just to see where they’re sold, even though word on the ‘net is that they’re in short supply and high demand, which means they’re flying off the world wide web like, well, Barbie dolls. Still, their very existence makes me smile.

It should be mentioned that Mattel themselves aren’t the ones being this progressive. There are artists and doll designers changing the look and texture of regular ol’ Barbie’s hair and taking their hair back to their roots — so to speak.

Even though my daughter may be too old to really enjoy them now, I’m so happy for the little girls who can grow up seeing themselves reflected in the dolls they play with and adore. I’m not going to fool myself into believing that the long, straight-haired, traditionally coiffed Barbie isn’t still going to be the hot ticket on the shelves. I mean, that would just be lulling myself into a false sense of reality, and if and when I decide to do that, it’ll be over something much more fun.

But their presence lets little Afro-puff-and-plait-wearers — and girls with dreadlocks, like mine — know that their hair is just as pretty as long and silky strands, both on dolls and on people.

Does it even make a difference what kind of hair a doll has?

Image via Tabloach Productions

toys, racial issues


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jonellg jonellg

Natural hair doll with white features... Still a fail.

Ember... Emberbaby

I have to agree with jonelig.  This doll looks biracial at best.

Nraw2011 Nraw2011

Jesus Christ!  Not all black people have wide noses and big lips.  

scary... scaryfairy81

I think it's cool and I'd buy one even for a white daughter if I had one, or want one for myself if I was still a kid...but really, how many white women/girls can say they have ever seen a Barbie doll that truly looked anything like them? Barbies have never looked like the majority of real human beings, regardless of race.

ChicH... ChicHippie


That doll is lovely, and I live the international line of Barbies! I think its important for ALL children to have a wide variety and diverse assortment of toys.

Krist... Kristian1

I buy my daughters dolls of all races

But it is hard to buy a black doll that gets the hair right. Its important to me because I don't want them to fry their hair for years to make yourself look good like I did.

butte... buttercup627

My mom wasn't into Barbie so I never had one. She didn't think they were appropriate for a young girl's body image...blah blah.. I did have a American Girl doll, her name was Addy and she was black (I'm white) I used to pretend we were sisters or that she was my daughter and sometimes we went on adventures. I think parents build up dolls too much in their minds. They're toys for kids to play with

Billie Jo Evans

Personally I think all the barbie type dolls, bratz, etc should be banned. It is a beautiful doll though.

miche... micheledo

There are MANY African tribes with very fine features.  There is a large group in West Africa that have the fine features practically identical to this doll.  They are not white features.  These features exsist in all colors of skin.

However, having said that, I doubt VERY much that the toy manufacturers were thinking of these tribal groups when they designed the doll.  :D

I think she is beautiful and am constantly looking for different dolls for my daughter - all colors, all features!

Domon... DomoniqueWS

Not white features, not all African American's are the same.  I have plenty of full plack family who have lighter complexion and noses just like that.  like PP said, there are many tribes who are like this, particularly in west Africa.

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