Madam C.J. Walker, nation’s first self-made female millionaire, gets Barbie doll
Mattel welcomes black entrepreneur and America’s first self-made female millionaire Ms CJ Walker as its latest barbie doll “Inspirational Woman” collect.
Walker is known for her beauty empire, which created hair care and makeup products made specifically for black women, and her work as a philanthropist and activist.
According to Mattel, the collection pays tribute to women who “taken risks and challenged the status quo” throughout their lives, setting new precedents for generations of girls. Walker will join an impressive roster that includes Rosa Parks, Susan B. Anthony, Maya Angelou and many more impressive women.
Walker, born Sarah Breedlove, was born in 1867 on the same plantation in Delta, Louisiana, where her parents had been enslaved and become sharecroppers. She was the first free-born in her family, but was orphaned at the age of seven.
Walker started losing most of her hair in her 20s, when she started experimenting with homemade solutions and store-bought products as treatments.she eventually developed this product wonderful hair growerson which she built her business.
Walker settled in Indianapolis, where she built what was then the largest inland manufacturing center in the United States, according to a website about her. She also established factories, hair and nail salons, and training schools. She would go on to employ thousands of black workers throughout her life, including in the United States, South America and the Caribbean.
Her self-made wealth also enables her to do incredible charitable work, such as helping build funds for the “Colored” YMCA in Indianapolis. Her daughter eventually persuaded her to move to Harlem, New York City, which has become the center of black American culture and politics.
Mattel worked directly with Walker’s great-great-granddaughter and official biographer A’Lelia Bundles to create authentic masterpieces based on rare family photos and stories about Walker.
“The first thing people think of Ms. CJ Walker is hair. She’s a woman who started a hair care product company,” Bundle tells CBS New York in an interview earlier this year.
So, as in real life, Mattel has created Walker Barbies with “multi-dimensional colors, special curly patterns, and era-appropriate styles, with heads twisted like crowns.”
The doll also comes dressed in some of Walker’s favorite colors, including lavender, purple, and turquoise, and even comes with a miniature version of Walker’s famous Wonderful Hair Grower product, complete with historically accurate labels and twist-off lids.