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Mattel Honors Madam CJ Walker in Latest Barbie 

by Sydney Anderson
Published: Last Updated on
Mattel Honors Madam CJ Walker in Latest Barbie 
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The Barbie Signature Inspiring Women collection is paying tribute to many female leaders who have paved the way for young girls, such as Madam C.J Walker, the first self-made female millionaire in America. 

Mattel, the toy company that creates Barbie, honors Walker for her significant contribution to Black hair cosmetics and products. Walker established commodities, like the first hair-straightening formula and hot comb, which inspired many creations today, such as braids, wigs, and weaves. 

Growing up in poverty, Walker did not have much and often struggled to provide for her siblings. For many years, Walker experienced financial problems but continued to work. She was able to establish her hair products  and straighteners accustomed to African American women, “Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower.”

Walker’s inspiring story led to the creation of the Netflix original movie, “Self Made”, detailing her transformation from a farm laborer to one of the wealthiest female entrepreneurs.

Madam C.J. Walker immortalized as newest Barbie

Barbie teamed up with A’Leila Bundles, Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, to design the doll. Because of Bundles’ in-depth knowledge of Walker’s history, the toy company could distinctively portray Walker.

Bundles was pleased to see her great-great-grandmother portrayed in a ‘different light,’ stating, “She loved purple and turquoise. In the past, photos were in black and white so you couldn’t see that. So it was good that we could give her a bit of whimsy and use brighter colors.”

With this doll, she hopes more individuals are enlightened, telling Yahoo, “To know little girls and big girls will have access to Madam Walker, and just that physical symbolism of her story means it’s going to be exploding exponentially in a way it never has before.”

Available at a store near you

Lisa McKnight, executive Vice President and global head of Barbie, stated, “As a pioneer in entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and activism, creating the blueprint for the self-made American businesswoman and innovators of the twentieth century, Madam C.J Walker is an embodiment of our Barbie Inspiring Women Series.”

She continued, “We’re honored to welcome her into this group of trailblazing women and introduce more kids to her journey of becoming one of the Nation’s first widely successful female founders.”

Barbie’s Inspiring Women series is a great way for young girls to become educated on historical women figures. In the beginning of 2022, the series praised Ida B. Wells, a Black leader in the civil rights movement who led an anti-lynching campaign in the South, and Jane Goodall, an expert on wild chimpanzees who realized the similarities between them and humans, while also changing the way individuals perceive the closely related animals.

The Madam C.J Walker doll debuted on August 24th and is now available at many known stores, such as Walmart, Target, Amazon, and Mattel Creations, for a retailed price of $35.

7 comments

Denise September 11, 2022 - 3:05 am

This is great that they are honoring Madam CJ Walker. I can’t wait to purchase this doll. I’m also a graduate of Delaware State University.

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Yolanda Dupree September 11, 2022 - 8:32 am

I’m a licensed Master Cosmetologist of 32 years. I own a salon and work in the film/tv industry. This is amazing and I’m super excited to purchase this doll.

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Gwendolyn September 11, 2022 - 3:41 pm

The doll is beautiful! I am an avid Barbie Collector and ordered mine the first day she went on sale. Thank you for the legacy I will leave for my grandchildren.

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Patricia Smith September 11, 2022 - 3:56 pm

My Mother who is 101yrs.old. and went to a Madam C J Walkers Beauty College in Dallas Texas. I watched her movie, read all the stories on her.

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A'Lelia Bundles September 11, 2022 - 6:14 pm

Thanks so much for writing this article about the new Madam Walker Barbie. We really appreciate it. We’d be grateful if a correction could be made, however. While many people have been taught that Madam Walker created the first hot comb/straightening comb, that is a myth. It keeps popping up but I can assure you that after five decades of research about Madam Walker, I can assure you that it is not true.
A’Lelia Bundles
Madam Walker Family Archives

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Consuella Jones September 12, 2022 - 12:11 pm

THANK YOU TO OUR ANCESTORS FOR PAVING THE WAY FOR US!!!

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Dorothy Wyrick October 3, 2022 - 11:21 pm

Where can I purchase the beautiful doll?

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