When Karen Braithwaite (pictured) could not find party supplies for her daughter’s fifth birthday gathering with images of Black Barbies, she took her gripe to Change.org and YouTube in order to twist the corporate arm of the famed doll’s manufacturer, reports CBS New York.
The Harlem-based, 40-year-old human resources manager could not fathom why the toy company makes Black Barbie dolls but failed to create a culturally diverse line of party goods that would follow suit. She refused to purchase supplies with images of blond-haired, blue-eyed Barbies for her daughter, Georgia (pictured), despite the child’s insistence.
Braithwaite is at the helm of the group of 14 Harlem moms who have taken up their concerns with Mattel. The Change.org online petition that Braithwaite started last month has thus far garnered nearly 5,000 signatures. The request has reportedly not fallen on deaf ears and the toy maker, which manufactured its first African-American doll, Christie, in 1968, is reportedly considering the move to create the cultural party supplies.
On Mattel’s social media page, the company tweeted two replies to people who brought the issue to their attention: “We work closely with our partners to develop and distribute Barbie products such as party supplies,” and “We will be sharing your valuable feedback with them to start conversations and evaluate the business.”
Georgia, who turned 5 on Monday, will be getting her Barbie-themed party after all because her clever mom made the decision to improvise. Braithwaite wrote to Mattel asking permission to copy images of Black Barbies and transfer them onto party supplies. When she didn’t receive a response, she took matters into her own hands and began printing Black Barbies on plates and on a party banner. So, come Sunday, the little girl will have her party and 14 friends will celebrate with images that look like them.
“Beauty comes in all colors,” was the closing point Braithwaite wanted to drive home in the video that accompanies the Change.org petition.