Karen Braithwaite’s daughter asked for a Barbie-themed party, but there was one problem: Harlem mother, Karen Greene Braithwaite could not find any “Barbies of color” in any of Mattel’s party supplies for her daughter, Georgia’s birthday party.
When mother and blogger, Ebony G, encountered the same problem she created her own party supplies using self-made stickers and online pictures. Braithwaite instead took her issue to Change.org where she released a video and petition. So far she has reached 3,169 supporters of the petition and over 1,000 views on YouTube.
She explains “Even though it seems like a small thing,” to only feature white Barbie dolls on party supplies, “relegating the ‘ethnic’ Barbies to near-invisible cameos sends a clear–and troubling–message to young girls.”
Braithwaite states in the video that her petition is about “promoting diversity, inclusion, and respect.” She continues to explain that Mattel, creator of Barbie, already makes millions of dollars marketing to young girls of color with a wide range of skin tones and hair textures and that there is a market for party supplies as well. She urges Mattel to do better and asks viewers to sign the petition which is to send a message to Mattel to “offer a diverse selection of party supplies featuring dolls of color.
Alan Hilowitz, one of the Mattel’s brand’s spokesmen, wrote a response to DNAInfo.com stating, “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,” He further explained “We work closely with various partners to develop and distribute Barbie-themed products, such as party supplies, and we will be sharing this valuable feedback with them to start conversations and evaluate the business. We listen carefully to our consumers and take all feedback seriously.”
Georgia’s fifth birthday is this week and she probably won’t get the Black-Barbie themed party she wanted but her mother hopes another child won’t have to face the same issue.
Through the petition she hopes it will be possible. She told DNAInfo.com, “maybe some other little girl will get her black Barbie party.” At the end of the video Braithwaite reminds viewers that “beauty comes in all colors.” In the petition website she questions “Why not give young girls of color the option of seeing and celebrating that same diversity when it comes to celebrating themselves?”