Harlem mother Karen Greene Braithwaite has created a change.org petition asking Mattel to offer party supplies featuring Barbies of color. Karen, and her daughter Georgia, stopped by the PIX11 Morning News to discuss the issue.
In a statement, Mattel Company Spokesperson, Alan Hilowitz had this to say: “Mattel has had a long track record of designing diverse Barbie dolls in a multitude of ethnicities to celebrate and reflect the ethnic and cultural differences of girls around the world. Barbie has represented more than 45 different nationalities and is sold in 150 countries. In fact, Mattel’s first African American doll was introduced in 1968 – as Barbie doll’s friend Christie – and since then there have been numerous additional African-American dolls.
Mattel has produced party goods lines in the past that feature diversity in characters; however most of the party goods lines across the board have not done well, including our Caucasian and African American party goods lines. We work closely with various partners to develop and distribute Barbie-themed products, such as party supplies, and evaluate the business together. As a result of historical performance, retailers buy what will have volume and performance in sales. We are looking at how we can work with our partners to redesign a new line. Conducting a deep exploration is critical as research will help us create what will sell and be most appealing to a cross section of consumers. The current line of Barbie party products has been discontinued; however we are working with our business partner who manufactures these products to redesign a new line. Development of new products takes a minimum of 18 months from creative development to sell in to production to being on shelves in stores and as such consumers will not see any new product in the near term.”