By Lori Perkins
February is Black History Month and it’s also this weird P.R. time of year where strange products are pitched with gymnastic attempts to fall under this diversity umbrella, so I rarely write about it. But, I’m a Barbie collector (I collect superheroes and supervillains, and creatives), so I was overjoyed to see that Mattel has given us a Maya Angelou doll, complete with a tiny version of her autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I think this might be the first writer they have ever included in their Inspiring Women line of dolls (I have the Frieda Kahlo Barbie, BTW).
Angelou was both the first female and first Black inaugural poet. She recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” at Bill Clinton’s presidential inauguration in 1993. At Joe Biden’s inauguration ceremony, when 22-year-old Amanda Gorman made history as the youngest inaugural poet, she paid homage to Angelou by wearing a ring shaped like a caged bird. Angelou received more than 50 honorary doctorate degrees, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and a National Book Award nomination for her 1970 autobiography.
According to a statement via TODAY, Guy Johnson, Angelou’s son, hopes the Barbie “will inspire new generations of teachers, writers and activists. My mother… was a pioneer and an activist with an invincible spirit for justice,” he went on to say. “Through her words and actions, she developed a unique ability to create deep connections with people around the world. She used to say, ‘I write from the Black perspective, but I aim for the human heart.’”
The bad news is that this Barbie is already sold out, but you can sign up for a waiting list and they will let you know when they will take your $29.99 and send you a doll.