Justice

Zendaya Is Getting Her Own Barbie Doll

September 24th 2015

By:
Laura Donovan

Singer Zendaya is getting her own Barbie doll that will reflect her 2015 Academy Awards appearance, which E!'s Giuliana Rancic infamously discussed in a manner many found racially-charged. The Barbie, which will be featured at the Barbie Rock ‘N Royals Concert Experience in Los Angeles over the weekend, is significant for the 19-year-old, as she grew up feeling like none of the Barbies on the market looked like her.

In a recent interview with Yahoo, Zendaya said she was very happy to see Mattel's evolution through the creation of her doll.

"When I was little, I didn't have one that looked like me, so I couldn't connect with her in that way," Zendaya said. "But getting to visit the Mattel offices and see Barbie’s vision for the future...I was able to see how they plan to diversify, broadening the horizons and the image of Barbie, and make it more, you know, open. I left the office feeling it was definitely something I wanted to be a part of."

Diversity in Barbies.

Zendaya is not alone in wanting fair treatment of women of color in Barbie dolls. Over the summer, blogger Yanique Chambers wrote an open letter to Walmart saying couldn't find any Black Barbies in their toy department after taking her three-year-old to the store.

"Would you believe that after searching through all the Barbies on your shelves, endcaps, and the hard to reach shelf where the overstocks go that I did not find one Barbie of color?" she wrote. "I know this is not a big deal to many of your customers, but to me it’s a freakin’ big deal ... [B]ecause it’s so hard to find that shade of Barbie, my little girl colors her doll with crayons to make it look more like her. I know not many three-year-olds are concerned with the complexion of their dolls, but my child is."

During the holiday season last year, a parent named Warren Johnson was upset to see that Target's website sold the Black Barbie Fashion Maker at a significantly higher rate than the white version of the doll:

"When my daughter asked the question, 'Why is the black doll more expensive than the white doll?' I really didn't have an answer for her," Johnson told Cincinnati outlet WCOP.com last year. "It kind of rubbed me the wrong way in light of all the things going on in our society right now."

Target said the discrepancy was the result of a system error and made the price the same both the white and Black versions. Even though it appeared to have been accidental, Johnson felt the price should have been the same for the two dolls in the first place.

"If you are going to have one price marked down on one doll, the other doll should have been marked down at the same price at least," Johnson said.

Giuliana Rancic's controversial comments on Zendaya's dreadlocks.

News of the Zendaya Barbie comes several months after Rancic mocked Zendaya's 2015 Oscars look. On an episode of E!'s "Fashion Police," Rancic said Zendaya's dreadlocks "[smelled] like patchouli oil. Or weed." Rancic was widely criticized for her remarks, which many found racist. Rancic ultimately apologized, and Zendaya accepted her apology in two Instagram posts about the controversy:

 

A photo posted by Zendaya (@zendaya) on

 

A photo posted by Zendaya (@zendaya) on