What It Means To Be A Black Barbie

Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Kim, contrary to hip hop belief, are not the only Real Black Barbie. So if they aren’t, who is? Barbie was introduced in the 50’s and although she’s a 70 year old icon her ambiguity has afforded young Black women to embody the Dreamworld. Barbie has been a doctor, a lawyer, a life guard, even a cashier, but what’s the best thing about her?? All girls know that we absolutely loved dressing her up and making her be whoever we wanted her to be.
As a 26 year old Black woman that has had dreams of being a power house lawyer, to an anthropologist, to finally realizing that I’m only going to have my Dreamhouse when I commit fully to my true passion of writing, I’ve been unaware that I’ve been wearing the many faces of Barbie for most of my adult life.
Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Kim have given Black women the motivation we needed. The media ridicules them for being too sexual and even too promiscuous and not lady like. Those two ladies have only put a name on a face, so to speak, but has it ever occurred to anyone that maybe Black women are embracing this image as a sign of liberation? For centuries our job has been to hold up a strong family and stand by our Black men as they climb the ladders of society. At what point in time would our lives be about what we wanted? Working tirelessly as the backbone of multiple movements, when were we going to have fun? Our White counterparts have been sexually and publically liberating themselves since the debut of Playboy back in the 1950’s.
Being the Black Barbie has nothing to do with how we look at all. Don’t get me wrong, I still wear my Vicky Secrets underneath it all, MAC gloss on my lips, and Coach on my wrist, but the truth of Barbie is all in my walk, my talk, and the way I’m in love with myself. Never once in Barbie’s 70 year existence did she keep the same job, drive the same car, live in the same house, or even keep the same friends. She did what she wanted on her time. Think about it, she never even married Ken, but he always seemed to stick around.
Barbie is a chameleon attitude of liberation. We can all be who we want and at the time that we want. None of us have to pick one skill, one goal, or one anything for that matter. Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Kim need to realize that they are both Black Barbz, just at different places. So to my young Black sisters whether you’re Malibu Barbie, Mod Barbie, Superstar Barbie, Christmas Barbie, or the original vintage Barbie, can you please stand up? It’s time to hop in our pink convertibles, realistically or metaphorically, and let them know that “It’s Barbie ___” (insert Minaj’s favorite word here)

Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Kim, contrary to Hip-Hop belief, are have not been the only ones to claim that they are a Black Barbie. So if they aren’t, who is? Barbie was introduced in the 50’s and although she’s a 70 year old icon her ambiguity has afforded young Black women to embody the Dreamworld. Barbie has been a doctor, a lawyer, a lifeguard, even a cashier, but what’s the best thing about her?? All girls know that we absolutely loved dressing her up and making her be whoever we wanted her to be.

As a 30+ year old Black woman that has had dreams of being a power house lawyer, to an anthropologist, to finally realizing that I’m only going to have my Dream house when I commit fully to my true passion of writing, I’ve been unaware that I’ve been wearing the many faces of Barbie for most of my adult life.

Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Kim have given Black women the motivation we needed. The media ridicules them for being too sexual and even too promiscuous and not lady like. Those two ladies have only put a name on a face, so to speak, but has it ever occurred to anyone that maybe Black women are embracing this image as a sign of liberation? For centuries our job has been to hold up a strong family and stand by our Black men as they climb the ladders of society. At what point in time would our lives be about what we wanted? Working tirelessly as the backbone of multiple movements, when were we going to have fun? Our White counterparts have been sexually and publicly liberating themselves since the debut of Playboy back in the 1950’s.

Being the Black Barbie has nothing to do with how we look at all. Don’t get me wrong, I still wear my Vicky Secrets underneath it all, MAC gloss on my lips, and Coach on my wrist, but the truth of Barbie is all in my walk, my talk, and the way I’m in love with myself. Never once in Barbie’s 70 year existence did she keep the same job, drive the same car, live in the same house, or even keep the same friends. She did what she wanted on her time. Think about it, she never even married Ken, but he always seemed to stick around.

Barbie is a chameleon attitude of liberation. We can all be who we want, when we want. None of us have to pick one skill, one goal, or one anything for that matter. Nicki Minaj and Lil’ Kim need to realize that they are both Black Barbz, just at different places. So to my young Black sisters whether you’re Malibu Barbie, Mod Barbie, Superstar Barbie, Christmas Barbie, or the original vintage Barbie, can you please stand up? It’s time to hop in our pink convertibles, realistically or metaphorically, and let them know that “It’s Barbie ___” (insert Minaj’s favorite word here).

Written by Crystal Walker 
Image by ErikaWittlieb from Pixabay


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The collective team of Parlé Magazine. Twitter: @parlemag

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