Monday, February 9, 2015

A Black List: Mattel's Black Fashion Dolls, First Draft

I want 2015 to be a banner year for PhillyCollector and my collecting life. In addition to getting organized, I want to write posts I considered but never made time to complete. Behold, the first draft of my list of Mattel playscale Black fashion dolls. Yes, I am going there finally.

This list is a "'work in progress." I realize that while I have written heritage month doll and action figure lists, I have NOT done any such lists for Black dolls. At first, I didn't think there was a need for this list because surely Mattel produced enough Black dolls for any interested person to find one or more. I would be counting forever. Was that true?

I started with Black Mattel dolls I owned. Then, I got some online help from a Wikipedia article, but I've added some figures not listed there. Lastly, I separated my list into four categories:
  1. Gate-crasher Colored Francie
  2. Black Barbie, Her Black Family and Friends
  3. Barbie's Black Friends and Other Barbie-scale Black Dolls 
  4. Barbie-scale Black Celebrities

Why these categories? Shrug. The groupings make sense to me. I consider "Colored" Francie as separate and distinct from all other Mattel Black dolls. She is Mattel's first Black fashion doll.* "Colored" is a historically legitimate adjective: yes, it is no longer popular. But that is how the doll was named during her production run. Then we have Black Barbie and her Black family and friends. Response to Black Barbie is almost 180 degree different to that of "Colored" Francie. Then there are Barbie's Black friends - the default Barbie's Black friends. Hmmm ... and we cannot forget Barbie-scale Black celebrities ....

Anyway, here is the list I offer. Please let me know if I have missed any dolls and which. I thank you in advance for joining me in this research. I need to check all dates, too.


Gate-crasher Colored Francie

The first Black doll in the Barbie line

Black Barbie, Her Black Family and Friends 

Barbie 1980 – Present

Skipper 1987-?

Francie 1997-Present

Kelly/Chelsea ?

Ken 1981-Present
Tommy 1997 - present

Alan Sherwood (Happy Family) 2002-?

Midge Hadley Sherwood (Happy Family) 2002-?

Ryan Sherwood (Happy Family) 2002-?

Nicole "Nikki" Sherwood (Happy Family) 2003-?

Cassandra Sherwood (Happy Family) 2004-?

Grandma Hadley (Happy Family) 2004-?

Grandpa Hadley (Happy Family) 2004-?

Barbie's Black Friends and Other Barbie-scale Black Dolls 

These dolls have no other racial identity.

Christie 1968-?

Brad 1970

Hal Happy (Happy Family) 197?

Hattie Happy (Happy Family) 197?

Hon Happy (Happy Family) 197?

Cara 1976-?

Curtis 1976-?

Carla (Tutti-sized. European release only) 1976

Louis Harris (Mattel Star Spangled Dolls; Jazz Musicians) 1976?

Mellie Harris (Mattel Star Spangled Dolls; Jazz Musicians) 1976?

DeeDee (Barbie and The Rockers band) 1986-1987

Belinda (Barbie and The Sensations band) 1988

Steven 1988-Present

Devon (Dance Club) 1989

Stacie (Jazzie friend) 1989

Shani (Shani) 1991-1994

Asha (Shani) 1991-1994

Nichelle (Shani) 1991-1994

Jamal (Shani) 1992-1994

Janet (Stacie-size) 1994-2006

Nikki (Skipper friend) 1997–2001

Keeya (Kelly/Chelsea size) 1998-?

Deidre (Kelly/Chelsea size) 1998-?

Tamika (Kelly/Chelsea size) 1999-?

Nichelle Williams Watson (Generation Girl) 1999-2001

Shawnee (Mystery Squad) 2001

Madison (My Scene) 2002

Bryant (My Scene) Bi-racial? 2003

Sutton (My Scene) Black British 2003

Jai (My Scene) 2003

Tyson (My Scene) 2003

Kiyoni Brown (Flavas) 2003-2004

Tawny (Flavas) 200?

Tre (Flavas) 2003-2004

Simone (One Modern Circle) 2003

Simone (American Idol) 2005

Desiree (Fashion Fever) 2005

Nikki (Teen Skipper-size and Barbie-size) 2006–present

Chad (High School Musical) 2008

Taylor (High School Musical) 2008

Zeke (High School Musical) 2008

Grace (So in Style) 2009– present)

Kara (So in Style) 2009–?

Trichelle (So in Style) 2009–?

Courtney (So in Style) 2009–?

Kianna (So in Style) 2009–?

Janessa (So in Style) 2009–?

Chandra (So in Style) 2010-?

Zahara (So in Style) 2010-?

Darren (So in Style) 2010-?

Julian (So in Style) 2010-?

Barbie-scale Black Celebrities

Julia (Diahann Carroll's character from the TV show) 1969-1970

MC Hammer (Rapper, Stanley Burrell. MC) 1992

Stacey Dash (Clueless; Dionne Davenport) 1997

Brandy Norwood 1999-?

Kobe Bryant (NBA SuperStars) 1999?

Scottie Pippin (NBA SuperStars) 1999

Beyoncé (Destiny's Child) 2005
Kelly Rowland (Destiny's Child) 2005

Michelle Williams (Destiny's Child) 2005

Diana Ross 2005

Raven-Symoné (That’s So Raven; Raven Baxter) 2005

Kimora Lee Simmons 2008

Zoe Saldana (Star Trek; Lt. Uhura Barbie**) 2009

Halle Berry (Bond Girl; Die Another Day Barbie**) 2010

Jennifer Beals (Ladies of the Eighties; Flashdance Barbie**) 2010

Dinah Jane Hansen (Fifth Harmony) 2014  Ms. Hansen has Polynesian and Tongan descent.

Normani Hamilton (Fifth Harmony) 2014

Redressed Asha and Nichelle from Mattel's Shani line
Asha and Nichelle from the Shani line

* An earlier Black playscale fashion doll is Ideal's Grown Up Tammy, 1965.

** These dolls belong under the Black Barbie category, but since the face sculpts and/or face screenings were meant to represent specific actresses, I re-assigned them to the Black Celebrity category.

Thanks for looking. Hope you recognize some of these ... and maybe can add to this list.


Ms. Leo said...

Now, I thought you had a Clueless Dionne.? And no Julia? I am starting to think that I need a spreadsheet of all my dolls. I would hope that if something happens to me, all my dolls wouldn't be sold for a dollar.

The grandmommy said...

You were right! I had no idea there were so many!
I am like Ms. Leo, I always hope my things wont be in a thrift shop, but at least bring in a bit of money!

D7ana said...

Hi Ms. Leo! I would like to have a Clueless Dionne someday ;-)

I've got my original childhood TNT Julia though.

Something like that was at the back of my head - if something happened to me, would my family have some records? And I like doing spreadsheets and databases ....

D7ana said...

Hi The grandmommy!

Some people insure their collections. That is something else to consider ;-)

Yes, there are many. Can you think of any I may have missed?

Muff said...

Whoa! So many dolls. I really need an entire weekend so I can yahoo image search for all of these.

In keeping with the comments convo so far, I have notified my family about my other more valuable collections and that they should sell them. However, I have not and probably will not tell them the value of my doll collection. I think I actually do want my dolls to go to a thrift store. The enjoyment I get from finding something awesome at the thrift store is pretty darn thrilling. Even if its a kid, a collector or some eBay scalper, either one will get some value and hopefully some joy out of it. I like the idea of many people enjoying my collection.

BlackKitty said...

If you include collectibles, your list is missing black Barbie Basics, Dolls of the World and Happy Holidays dolls.

Smaller Places said...

It's kind of a relief to have it affirmed that the list actually is long! I also had TNT Julia. Loved her.

Also, this reminded me that if my Amazon gift certificate works for marketplace vendors, gymnast Janet might be a good place to spend it.

Since I want an excuse to learn Access and my work-related projects keep only needing Excel, I'm thinking of doing a database that allows me to link my dolls' actual characteristics with my fictional bios for them.

Cindi Mortensen said...

You've inspired me to do an Excel spreadsheet of my entire collection also. I think if anything happened to me, my niece and goddaughter would probably inherit it all. My feeling is they'd be free to donate them if they or their kids don't want them - except the Color Infusion ones. I would advise them the sell those. :-)

Brini said...

Huh my Free Moving Cara is going with me in the afterlife!! My son can do what he want with the rest. lol. I give away dolls every now and then and some will go charities that I randomly find and inquire if the need black dolls. Which is kinda a hit and miss because 18" dolls are the demand. I don't keep a spreadsheet per se BUT I have one listing all my dolls with there names and family associations.

D7ana said...

Hi Muff, BlackKitty, Smaller Places, and Cindi Mortensen!

@Muff - oh, yes. A LOT of dolls. I'm going to post links to good photos I've found and take photos of dolls I have.

That's a good idea letting your family know which ones to sell while NOT disclosing the entire collection value. Who wants a discussion about what we spend on the hobby?

I joked once that somebody would have to pry my Power Team guys from my cold, dead hands, but I'm not particular as to who receives the DAFs after I die.

@BlackKitty - I "cheated" a little: the Barbie Basics, Dolls of the World and Happy Holidays are all lumped under the "Barbie" entry, lol. Otherwise, I would still be tallying up names, etc.

Maybe I'll do a list of all Black Barbies someday ... maybe ....

@Smaller Places - Mattel's been producing dolls for over 50 years. This is and isn't a long list, if I think about that angle. Shrug ;-)

If I remember right, Gymnast Janet is an adorable buy. Crossing my fingers that you get her.

I loved working with MS Access; a doll character plus inventory database would be a joy to create. You'll probably check existing writers' software and collectors' software for ideas. Good luck with that project and do share your results if you can.

@Cindi Mortensen - oh a series of posts on spreadsheets and databases would be fun!

That's great that you have people who would be happy to receive your collection. You have a lovely collection!

D7ana said...

Hi Brini! LOL, I can *see* your Free Moving Cara jumping into a casket. (Oh, does that sound bizarre? BTW, I have the Ballerina Cara. Knuckle bump.)

You're generous so I can also *see* dolls being donated by you ;-)

I have several spreadsheets with DAF inventories by years and a few composition and wire bound notebooks with character notes. Helps keep us consistent ;-)

Anderson's All-Purpose said...

Do celebrity dolls of any brand make it onto the list? I have a feeling there must be more of them - does the Prettie Girls Cynthia Bailey doll count?

Re: my collection, I think I'm with Muff here, but then again mine is pretty much without value anyway (monetary, that is).

D7ana said...

Hi Anderson's All-Purpose!

I thought celebrity dolls belong on the list because Mattel has created Black playscale celebrity dolls. I've found two that aren't on my original list so I've got some adding to do ;-)

No, the Prettie Girls Cynthia Bailey doll does not count for this list because she is not by Mattel.

The non-monetary value is most precious to me.

Barb the Evil Genius said...

Seriously, you ought to write a book. Alison at The Fashion Doll Review has written a few, two specifically on Steffie-faced dolls. Maybe after you get your collection sorted out.

D7ana said...

I *know* Alison - well, I recognize her name in connection with doll doings, and Steffie-faced dolls and Alice-dolls. That is an idea that I rather like - doing a doll book.

Would have to get really good photos though ... still. Why not? Thanks, Barb - you're a GREAT genius ;-)

Chasing Joy said...

I had no clue there were so many black dolls. I don't know much about dolls. Would love to see pictures of all of them, especially the "colored" one.

Pinning your post to the #FlashbackFriday Pinterest board. Thanks for linking up.

Carrickters said...

I must admit I'm surprised at how long the list is. However, it has already been helpful - I have a Dee Dee doll from the Rocker series still in her box and I was wondering how old she was.

D7ana said...

Hi and thanks Chasing Joy and Carrickter! I apologize for my tardy response. While this list - which is missing some names - seems long, Mattel has put out thousands of Barbie and other dolls so while the list is impressive, it could be longer still ;-)

@Arlett - thanks for pinning this post to the #FlashbackFriday Pinterest board.

@Carrickters - I'm glad the list helped you date your DeeDee doll.