Madam C.J. Walker, nation’s first self-made female millionaire, gets Barbie doll

Mattel has welcomed Black entrepreneur and America’s first documented female self-made millionaire Madam C.J. Walker as the newest Barbie doll in its “Inspiring Women” assortment.

Walker is thought for her magnificence empire, through which she created haircare and make-up merchandise made particularly for Black ladies, in addition to her work as a philanthropist and activist. 

The assortment pays tribute to ladies “who took risks and challenged the status quo” of their lifetimes, setting new precedents for generations of ladies, in keeping with Mattel. Walker will be part of a powerful checklist that features Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Maya Angelou and extra spectacular ladies.

Walker, née Sarah Breedlove, was born in 1867 on the identical plantation in Delta, Louisiana, the place her mother and father had been previously enslaved and have become sharecroppers. She was the first in her household to be born free, however was orphaned by the age of seven.

In her 20s, Walker started dropping most of her hair, and that is when she started experimenting with do-it-yourself options and store-bought merchandise as a remedy. She ultimately developed the product Wonderful Hair Grower, upon which she constructed her business. 

Walker settled in Indianapolis, the place she constructed the nation’s largest inland manufacturing middle on the time, in keeping with a website about her. She additionally constructed a manufacturing unit, hair and manicure salon, and coaching faculty. She would go on to make use of 1000’s of Black staff all through her lifetime, together with within the U.S., South America and the Caribbean.

Her self-made fortune additionally enabled her to do unimaginable philanthropic work, reminiscent of aiding within the constructing fund of the “colored” YMCA in Indianapolis. Her daughter would ultimately persuade her to maneuver to the Harlem neighborhood in New York City, which had turn into the middle of Black tradition and politics in America. 

Mattel labored straight with A’Lelia Bundles, the great-great-granddaughter and official biographer of Walker, to create an genuine illustration primarily based on uncommon household photographs and tales about Walker. 

Mattel launched Madam C.J. Walker Barbie to the “Inspiring Women” assortment. 


“The first thing that people think about Madam C.J. Walker is hair. She’s a woman who founded a haircare products company,” Bundles informed CBS New York in an interview earlier this year.
So, true to real-life, Mattel created the Walker Barbie with “multi-dimensional color, a particular curl pattern and an era-appropriate style with the twist that goes across her head like a crown.”

The doll can also be wearing a few of Walker’s favourite colours, together with shades of lavender, purple and turquoise, and even comes with a mini model of Walker’s famed Wonderful Hair Grower product, full with a traditionally correct label and twist-off lid. 

Back to top button