The legendary Madam C.J. Walker has recently been inducted into Mattel’s Barbie Signature Inspiring Women collection. The recognition comes just in time to honor the entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist during National Black Business Month.
“I am a woman who came from the cotton fields of the South,” Walker once said in 1912, according to her website.
“From there I was promoted to the washtub. From there I was promoted to the cook kitchen. And from there I promoted myself into the business of manufacturing hair goods and preparations … I have built my own factory on my own ground.”
Born in 1867, Sarah Breedlove, infamously known as Madam C. J. Walker, is still revered today as the nation’s first self-made female millionaire. By the 1900s, the Louisiana native gained notoriety for establishing herself as a pioneer of the modern Black haircare and cosmetics industry.
During her life, Walker founded her own business and sold Madam Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower, a scalp conditioning and healing formula. To promote and sell her products, she built a factory, hair and manicure salon and two training schools as well.
With the help of Madam C.J. Walker’s great-great-granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles, Walker’s significant contributions to the beauty industry have opened doors for generations of Black women.
The Madam C.J. Walker doll is depicted as a classy boss. She stuns in a floral printed blouse that accentuates the grand ruffle trimmings around the shoulders and puff sleeves. Her outfit completes with a floor-length turquoise skirt. The doll also features a “Madam C.J. Walker’s Wonderful Hair Grower” accessory.
Bundles, who is also the founder of the MADAM by Madam C.J. Walker haircare products, worked closely with Mattel to properly execute everything from packaging to hair development, Yahoo Life reported. The experience was a pleasure for the author and journalist.
“To be able to have Madam C.J. Walker included in Barbie’s Inspiring Women Series means her story will go out across the world in a way it never has before,” Bundles told Yahoo Life.
“To know little girls and big girls will have access to Madam Walker and just that physical symbolism of her story means it’s going to be exploding exponentially in a way it never has before.”
The latest addition to Mattel’s collection joins incredible heroines such as Maya Angelou, Ida B. Wells, and Rosa Parks.