Barbara Millicent Roberts


I just spent almost three hours online trying to find some African American dolls for my cheeto-lovin’ youngster who wanted “a lot of dolls.” I ended up buying a cute African American Barbie and Steven. I was looking everywhere, Target, Amazon, Mattel, Toys r Us, Kmart…and trying to decide: should I get her a Steven or a glam sofa complete with bunny slippers and laptop? Or do I get her a Barbie toy puppy, since she wanted a puppy???

After all of this, I had to find out the history of African American Barbie. Why was it so difficult to find multiracial Barbies? In my search, I learned fascinating tidbits, such as Barbie’s full name. Barbara Millicent Roberts. And that the creator’s children were named Barbara and Ken.

The first African American Barbie came out in 1968. But she was basically white Barbie with dark skin. Another one came out in 1980…. FINALLY, in 2009, Mattel introduced a line of African American Barbies who are not just a carbon copy of white Barbie. Welcome to the 21st century, Barbie!!

I am so tempted to buy a Barbie for myself. Like this one.











Or maybe Totally Tattoo Barbie. Holy shit, she has a lower back tat just like me!









I had a bazillion Barbies when I was a kid (thanks, Mom and Dad). My mom crocheted outfits! I can only picture two of them. One with reallllly long brown hair. And one whose hair got chopped off by either a friend at a sleepover, or by my brother. Can’t say for sure. Traumatizing.

I hope my 8-year-old in Roxbury, MA, has many fun hours with Barbie and Steven.

One thought on “Barbara Millicent Roberts

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  1. I know how you feel. When I was growing up we did not have all the African American Dolls that are available now. I don’t even have a daughter but I have been spending my fair share of time shopping for dolls.

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