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.