Every Single Black Icon Who Was Turned Into A Barbie Because Duh

It’s common knowledge by now that black girls are low-key magical, but frankly, we can’t be reminded of that too often. The latest Netflix documentary causing a conversation (one that surprisingly enough isn’t about frightening TikTok dance cults or skeevy websites for cheaters) is Black Barbie, the story of how Mattel’s first-ever black Barbie doll hit the shelves in 1980 thanks to legendary toy maker Kitty Black Perkins. It took 30 years for the Barbie Kitty designed to be properly acknowledged by the company, which Mattel did with its 30th anniversary reprisal in 2010. Since then, many real-life black female icons have had their likeness turned into a Mattel Hall of Fame doll, including Shondaland’s fearless leader Shonda Rhimes who serves as an executive producer on the Netflix film. In honor of the doc, Juneteenth, and just simply black women being hot, here’s every famous black celebrity turned into Barbie to note for your collector’s edition.

Every Famous Black Celebrity Turned Into Barbie

Shonda Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes Barbie
Image Credit: Mattel

Shonda’s 2022 Barbie was carefully created to reflect her full figure and fuller hair, with a remake of her outfit from her Variety cover.

Ibtihaj Muhammad

Ibtihaj Muhammad Barbie
Image Credit: Getty Images

The Olympic bronze medal-winning fencer received a Barbie in her honor in 2017. Just like Ibtihaj, her Barbie wears a hijab as a proud Muslim woman.

Misty Copeland

Misty Copeland's first Barbie
Image Credit: Associated Press

Prima ballerina, Misty Copeland, was the first black principal dancer of the American Ballet Theatre. The Swan Lake athlete in pointe shoes received her first Barbie in 2016. She got a second Nutcracker Barbie in a white tutu two years later.

Janet Jackson

Janet in a dress similar to the one that inspired her Barbie
Image Credit: Getty Images

The “Nasty” performer got a very nice “Divinely Janet” Barbie doll commemorating her 2010 “Again” performance on the American Idol stage in a memorable black dress with red details and a sparkly mic, OFC.

Diana Ross

Diana Ross doll on display at 'Barbie The Icon' Exhibit

Another iconic black singer, another iconic black Barbie with a microphpone. Diana Ross (queen of disco, sparkles, and a picture-perfect mane) looks like “The Boss” in a miniature custom Bob Mackie silver sparkly gown that her Barbie wears. Diana’s 70s glamour influenced the original black Barbie.

Yara Shahidi

Yara Shahidi at her Barbie reveal
Image Credit: Getty Images

Grown-ish star and Harvard graduate Yara Shahidi was honored with a Mattel doll in her likeness as a part of an International Women’s Day rollout in 2019.

Issa Rae

Issa Rae at the Barbie premiere
Image Credit: Getty Images

Because Issa is a comedian/actress/entertainment executive triple threat, it sometimes gets forgotten she’s also stupid hot. Mattel didn’t forget though! Her character, The President, from the Barbie movie is in stores now.

Madame C.J. Walker

Madame C.J. Walker Barbie
Image Credit: Mattel

If you don’t know the name, crack out your history books. Madame C.J. Walker is most known for her entrepreneurial achievements in the black haircare space before women even had the right to vote.

Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka Barbie
Image Credit: Getty Images

Lol, remember when angry people on the internet tried to shade tennis champion Naomi Osaka for speaking out about mental health? Yeah, Mattel said yeet. Her “role model” Barbie is sporty chic.

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson's NASA Barbie
Image Credit: Getty Images

Katherine Johnson is the groundbreaking NASA scientist whose story was dramatized on film in Hidden Figures (a role played by Taraji P. Henson).

Laverne Cox

Laverne Cox Barbie

OITNB, Inventing Anna, the red carpet — you name it, Laverne Cox is there. Mattel released her Barbie in May of 2022 to celebrate the “Trans is beautiful” movement.


Zendaya psoes with her Barbie

Image Credit: Getty Images
LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 26: Actress and singer Zendaya poses with a Zendaya Barbie doll at the Barbie Rock ‘N Royals Concert Experience at the Hollywood Palladium on September 26, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Amanda Edwards/WireImage)

I mean, Zendaya is basically a living, breathing Barbie. She single-handedly saves the Met Gala every year, on top of delivering hits on the small screen and the big screen. Note Zendaya’s stunning Barbie wears locs, a hairstyle which the now irrelevant Giuliana Rancic once commentated made the actress look like she “smelled out patchouli oil and weed.”

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou
Image Credit: Getty Images

One of the greatest authors of all time does not need an introduction. But she did need a Barbie, which Mattel created in 2021 as a part of the “Inspiring Women” collection. Ms. Angelou, you are missed.

Nicki Minaj

Nicki posing with Margot Robbie at the 'Barbie' premiere
Image Credit: Getty Images

Nicki entered the rap game referring to herself as Barbie (hence her loyal stanbase being called the Barbz). Mattel made that nickname a reality with a one-of-a-kind Nicki Minaj Barbie that was auctioned off for charity in 2011. At the doll’s release, Nicki gushed she would remember this “Moment 4 Life”.

Bessie Coleman

Bessie Coleman's Mattel Barbie
Image Credit: Mattel

Bessie was the first black female pilot in the pre-civil rights era. She also manged to look extremely cute while doing it.

Gabby Douglas

Gabby Douglas
Image Credit: Getty Images

Gabby backflipped into our hearts during her gymnastic journey with Team USA at the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The three-time gold medal winner opened doors for so many of our fave athletes by being the first black female gymnast to win. Okay Mattel, now do Simone next!

Destiny’s Child

Destiny's Child holding their Barbie dolls
Image Credit: Getty Images

What I can’t handle is the fact that there are Beyoncé, Kelly, and Michelle Barbie trio sets out there, and yet I never got one for Christmas. If anyone wants to hit eBay to find this 2005 collector’s piece in my honor… I’m not saying no.

Ava Duvernay

Director Ava Duvernay's Barbie doll
Image Credit: Mattel

The Oscar-winning director is usually behind the camera, but Mattel gave her the perfect opportunity to shine in the spotlight with her “Platinum Label” doll in 2015.

Dina Asher-Smith


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The UK track star got her very own Barbie in 2020 complete with running shoes.

Halle Bailey

@hallebaileyomg 🥹💗the little girl in me is pinching herself right now ..i have my own Little Mermaid Ariel doll !!! I can’t believe how much she captures my version of this iconic character 🥹💕brb gonna go cry now …♬ original sound – halle

First a Disney princess, now a Barbie. Halle Bailey’s red-headed brown-skinned Ariel received a mermaid-tailed Barbie after her huge movie debut in the live action Little Mermaid.

Adwoa Aboah

Adwoa Aboah Barbie
Image Credit: Getty Images

The British model and activist Adowa’s Barbie is one of a few with sequins and freckles. Big slay. It was included in Mattel’s Women’s Day “You Can Be Anything” campaign along with Yara Shahidi’s.

Lira Molapo

Lira Molapo
Image Credit: Getty Images

Lerita “Lira” Molapo is a South African soul-funk singer. She’s the first African “Role Model” doll, created by Mattel in 2019. You can read more about Lira’s inspiring life in her autobiography Herstory.

Ella Fitzgerald

Ella Fitzgerald's Barbie
Image Credit: Getty Images

I was going to make an “At Last” pun but then I got distracted singer. Jazz legend Ella Fitzgerald is remembered with a ridiculously elegant Barbie in a sheer purple gown, which was released alongside Florence Nightingale’s doll (also pictured here).

Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock

Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock space Barbie
Image Credit: Mattel

Another international smarty pants made Mattel’s list in 2023. The British scientist, educator, and chancellor of the prestigious University of Leicester, Dr. Maggie Aderin-Pocock, was thrilled to become a Barbie. Hopefully, she has room to show it off on the shelf next to her huge pile of degrees.

Marissa Dow
Marissa Dow
MARISSA is a trending news writer at Betches. She's more than just another pop-culture-addicted-east-coaster-turned-LA-transplant...she's also an upcoming television writer and aspiring Real Housewife (whichever comes first). Live, laugh, balegdah.