We were all a bit disappointed back in 2009 when Mattel released their version of the multi-ethnic dolls. The African-American designer stated that she wanted the black dolls “to be an example to real girls.”

Unfortunately, the African-American community wasn’t totally on board with her statement, claiming that the dolls themselves were “just another example of how American loves to see African-Americans: as white as possible.”

Of the six dolls released in 2009, only one of them had natural hair, while all the rest had straight strands.

“Of course many black women do have hair like this,” says About-face.com. “But most don’t grow it that way naturally! There are six different dolls – why not six different kinds of hair?”

Since then, no largely distributed African-American Barbie doll has yet to rock multiple natural styles. Instead, the community just made their own!

Using pipe cleaners, boiling water and an overnight setting, many natural hair mothers have been transforming their daughter’s straight haired barbies into textured tressed beauties. CurlyNikki even tried it out with fabulous results!

This Christmas, noticing the lack of natural hair dolls, an African-American natural hair group in Georgia is transforming straight haired dolls into transitioned ones and gifting them to kids in Columbus’ Booker T. Washington Apartments.

According to Theroot.com, Candace McBride, a member of the African-American group coordinating the gift giving, said that it is hard to find dolls with brown eyes, let alone hair that will remind black girls of their own. So she found an online tutorial and made the dolls herself!

“We wanted to show the girls that basically, it’s OK the way God made you,” said member Jennifer Henderson.

As for us, we LOVE this! And we think it would be an even better, larger project to take the dolls to these girls and show them how to transform the dolls’ hair, make a story out of it, and teach them that they should be whoever they are – natural hair or straight!



NaturallyCurly has been on a mission to educate, empower, entertain and inspire women to have healthy discussions about hair and beauty since 1998. We explore everything from self-acceptance to finding the best hair care products for all textures.

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