The doll features the journalist in an 1800s-style high neck black dress, with her hair piled atop her head.
The latest addition to Barbie's "Inspiring Women" series is a doll honoring the revolutionary Black journalist Ida B. Wells. The famed journalist worked towards exposing the horrors of lynching in the late 1800s. Barbie unveiled the addition in posts uploaded to social media platforms, where the company received immense praise for immortalizing Wells. In a statement, Wells' great-granddaughter Michelle Duster shared that she was honored the trailblazer was chosen for the series. The doll will be available at major retailers starting January 17, CNN reports.
Ida B. Wells, the famed Black journalist who worked to expose the horrors of lynching, has now been immortalized by Barbiehttps://t.co/a3nL14ejmV— CNN (@CNN) January 12, 2022
The doll company posted on Twitter: "Barbie honors Ida B. Wells in the 'Inspiring Women' series, spotlighting heroes who inspire us to dream big. Born into slavery, she was a journalist, activist, and suffragist, telling the stories of injustices that Black people faced in her lifetime." In response, dozens of Twitter users appreciated Barbie for the new addition. One user replied, "In high school, I won an Ida B. Wells scholarship. I will definitely be looking for her on the 17th." Another added, "Thank you, Barbie, for ALL your positive karma while helping us to move up, out, and forward! Girl power!" Nonetheless, some did express concerns about how profits from sales would be directed towards empowering Black women. "Is the money going to some type of Ida B. Wells charity or scholarship? A journalism scholarship for black women? A social justice organization?" A Twitter user asked. "Otherwise this is just another opportunity for white capitalists to use a Black woman without providing any compensation."
Despite the criticism, Wells' great-granddaughter was excited for the Black journalist to be part of Barbie's "Inspiring Women" series. "I am honored that Barbie has chosen to celebrate my great-grandmother, Ida B. Wells, as part of its Inspiring Women Series," Duster stated in a press release. "My great-grandmother was a trailblazer, who courageously followed her convictions and challenged the status quo by fighting for civil rights and women’s suffrage. This is an incredible opportunity to shine a light on her truth and enduring legacy to empower a new generation to speak up for what they believe in."
See which other historical Black figures already have their own Barbie, too. https://t.co/c8btixwlaY— POPSUGAR Family (@POPSUGARMoms) January 11, 2022
The doll features the journalist in an 1800s-style high neck black dress, with her hair piled atop her head. The Wells doll now joins other revolutionary Black women such as Dr. Maya Angelou, Katherine Johnson, and Rosa Parks. Wells, who was born into slavery in the year 1862, was actively involved in exposing racism in the United States. She wrote about race and politics in the South, and went on to own and operate the newspaper The Memphis Free Speech and Headlight. She was also a vocal critic of segregated schools. In 1892, Wells became active in an anti-lynching campaign after several of her friends were lynched. She even visited the White House to advocate for reforms. Evidently, Wells deserves to be honored as part of the "Inspiring Women" series, through which young children can learn about her lasting legacy of activism and courage.
Although the #IdaBWells doll doesn't officially launch until mid-January, there has been an enthusiastic response. My brother & I worked with @Mattel over the past year to develop the doll & hope it inspires current & future leaders. https://t.co/um2cJsgDyv— MLDwrites (@MichelleDuster) January 7, 2022