Why No Barbie Dolls with Natural Hair? A Woman Helps Break the Mold

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In 1959, Mattel, Inc. launched a fashion doll that is now famously known as Barbie. It is one of the most successful toy lines ever but the plastic doll has also faced a great deal of scrutiny. The main complaint is that Barbie promotes a standard of beauty that most females do not fit into; especially African American girls.

Many people would argue that Barbie dolls do not have a profound affect on their young owners’ self image or view on beauty, but Karren Byrd is one person who vehemently disagrees with this sentiment. Byrd creates “Natural Beautiful Hair Dolls” that accurately represent the beauty of African American women. Her line of dolls sport natural hairstyles including afros, twists and locs. I got an opportunity to pick Ms. Byrd’s brain about her childhood and her beautiful creations.


Chime Edwards is a native of West Point, MS and attended Rust College in Holly Springs, MS where she majored in Mass Communications. In her spare time, Chime enjoys posting videos about natural hair care on her YouTube channel for over 26,000 subscribers.

48 Comment

  1. When the black Barbie line was added to Mattel toys I wondered about absence of a non-natural Barbie,as well. It is of course because of a loathing of black natural hair, not only by society at large, but also by black society. And that mind set won’t change unless we black people learn to love our whole and complete natural selves. I have to say it is very ironic, because I see so many white people trying to rock ‘fro’s and locs.

  2. I love the look of those dolls. They are beautiful.

  3. I am 55 years old today, however, when I was a child all of my Barbie dolls had afros.

  4. I wish there were this kind when I was a little girl.

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  19. Barbie does have natural hair, for a white doll. When are blacks going to stop whining about what whites make for themselves, and start making something for blacks?

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