Barbie Rock n Royals, Barbie Fashionistas, and now Dreadhead Barbie! That’s right folks, Barbie and their manufacturer Mattel, Inc. have created a Zendaya Barbie doll to resemble the controversial look she wore to the 2015 Oscars.
If you’re not familiar with the star or what happened I’ll be happy to recap. Zendaya is a stunning 19-year-old Disney sensation. Whether she’s singing or acting, she does everything with skill and grace. I’m not being biased. The girl really has talent and stays out of the tabloids. That changed on February 22, 2015, when Zendaya rocked the red carpet in a white Vivienne Westwood gown and a faux dreadlock hairstyle. The look landed her on E!’s show “Fashion Police” where host Giulianna Rancic made prejudice comments about Zendaya’s hairstyle. The comment that outraged everyone was, “she must have smelled like patchouli and weed”. Yup, a 40-year-old critized a teenager for choosing to wear a cultural hairstyle to a red carpet event.
Fast forward 7 months and the hairstyle that was frowned upon is now being celebrated. Zendaya getting her own doll, complete with white gown and dreadlocks, is phenomenal. She said it herself in her Instagram post that revealed the doll, girls of color don’t have many toys that look like them. Sure, Barbie always had her Black counterpart Christie, but never has there been a Barbie with dreds. Barbie is looked at as the epitome of beauty. For them to embrace this part of our culture is essentially them recognizing it as beautiful. The creation of this doll is groundbreaking.
I personally preferred Bratz dolls over Barbie growing up. I had the White doll Chloe, Asian doll Jade, Black doll Sasha and Hispanic doll Yasmin. Yes I remember all their names. You know why? Because they had more of an impact on me than Christie and Kelly. If a girl with kinky hair spends enough time brushing Barbie’s blonde locks she just might want to straighten her own hair.
Playing with toys that look like them will help little girls develop their racial identity and explore this diverse world we live in. Whether people want to accept it or not, the reality is America is diverse. Zendaya proved that by wearing a popular Black hairstyle to a black tie event. And she did it flawlessly. Thank you Barbie for reminding the world beauty comes in all different forms.