Mattel Refuses Harlem Mother’s Appeal For Black Barbie Party Supplies

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    Karen Braithwaite (pictured), the Harlem Mother who began an online petition on Change.org earlier this month, requesting that toy manufacturer Mattel consider creating a Black Barbie party suppliers line has been turned down by the company, reports DNAinfo.com.

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    Mattel reportedly informed Braithwaite that a line such as the one she has been petitioning for would just not be a profitable move for them due to a lack of interest by major retailers.

    Alan Hilowitz, a Mattel company spokesperson, who telephoned the 40-year-old human resources manager reportedly said that they came to a decision to not produce the Black Barbie party line due to the numerous marketing research panels they’ve held in the past. Hilowitz then went on to reportedly explain that due to the weak performance of their current party accessories line, it will be discontinued. Hilowitz added, “As a result of historical performance, retailers buy what will have volume and performance in sales.”

    The Mom-on-a-mission first launched her petition when her 4-year-old daughter, Georgia (pictured), asked for a Black Barbie-themed birthday party. When Braithwaite went looking for Black Barbie party supplies, she found that the market was saturated with blond-haired, blue-eyed accessories.

    With Braithwaite believing it was important for her daughter to see images that represent her, she took to the petition site Change.org to voice her concerns.  She also created the below YouTube video:


    Since the petition was started, scores of other Moms have joined Braithwaite’s crusade for a Black Barbie party supplies line. Thus far, there are more than 14,000 signatures hailing from all 50 states and abroad.

    Since Braithwaite could not fulfill her daughter’s request for the Black Barbie party theme, she took matters in to her own hands.  The swift thinker created her own line and began printing Black Barbies on plates and on a party banner.  She tried contacting Mattel to request permission to use the images, but the toy maker’s response was not timely enough for her daughter’s party.

    Even though Mattel has come back with a definitive no regarding the Black Barbie party supplies, Braithwaite is not going to put the brakes on her campaign; instead, she is requesting a sit-down with Mattel executives.  The determined Mother of two tells DNAInfo.com, “If Mattel truly wants to send a clear message that girls of color are not worthy of representation in the Barbie brand, then their continued inaction on this issue will do that.”

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