Local group gives Barbie a 'natural hair' makeover

spauff@ledger-enquirer.comDecember 11, 2011 

  • HOW TO HELP

    What: Barbie doll donation

    Where: Columbus Public Library, 3000 Macon Road

    When: 1:30 p.m. today

    Details: frolificmeetup@gmail.com

Candace McBride remembers wanting a Barbie doll as a girl.

“It’s kind of an iconic doll. Every girl wants a Barbie. I wanted a Barbie when I was a girl,” she said.

This Christmas, she’s hoping to give a few girls their own Barbies -- ones that look a little more like them.

McBride is part of an African-American natural hair group that meets regularly at the Columbus public library that decided to give Barbie dolls to girls at Booker T. Washington apartments for Christmas. Though Barbie comes in 50 different nationalities, most of the dolls, even the African-Americans ones have straight hair.

“When you look for dolls, they all have straight hair,” she said, adding that she’s noticed that many of the dolls also have blue or green eyes. “It’s tricky even to find ones with brown eyes,” she said.

She found an online tutorial that uses pipe cleaners and boiling water to give Barbie natural-looking curls. After they collect the dolls -- they want to gather about 40 -- group members will give them a natural hair makeover before giving them to the girls.

“We wanted to show the girls that basically, it’s okay the way God made you,” said Jennifer Henderson, a member of the group. Henderson said her 2-year-old daughter, Imani, isn’t into Barbie yet, but she does like dolls.

“She’s into baby dolls. I’ll brush her hair and she’ll brush her doll’s hair,” she said. “She wants to do what she sees me doing.”

Gladys Griffin, the owner of the Main Street Toy Shop, said her shop doesn’t carry Barbie dolls, but that dolls still remain popular, even with the advent of high tech toys.

“Grandmothers have been buying dolls (for their grandchildren) for years,” Griffin said. “They definitely hand them down.”

McBride said they chose Barbie to give as a gift because of her iconic status and the number of accessories she comes with. Barbie can be anything, she said.

According to the Barbie website, the doll has had more than 108 careers and worn approximately 1 billion fashions since her premiere in 1959.

“They can diversify and change accessories,” McBride said.

A few fun facts about Barbie

Her real name is Barbara Millicent Roberts

She was introduced in 1959, wearing a black and white striped swimsuit and a ponytail

She has four sisters: Skipper, Stacie, Kelly and Krissy.

Barbie has had more than 50 pets.

The top-selling Barbie doll ever was the 1992 Totally Hair Barbie, which had hair from the top of her head to her toes

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