The First Hijabi Barbie Is Here and Her Skin Color Matters

Written By Muslim Girl Staff, Assata Dela Cruz

The internet has been abuzz for days with the news of the release of a hijabi Barbie.  Barbie, a fashion doll manufactured by the American toy company Mattel, Inc. since the 1950s, has never had a veiled woman represented until now.  Aside from the usual suspects that are flooding the internet in protest over the “Sharia law” this Barbie is sure to usher in for the entire country, the public reception has mostly been overwhelmingly positive.

Muslim women are ecstatic to finally see someone that looks like them and allies are stoked to gift this Barbie to their little ones to foster conversations about diversity.  Everyone wins.

Being a Black Muslim woman means to be a representation of three of the most discriminated against groups in America. 

Hijab has been historically demonized in Western nations.  This visible sign of faith worn by Muslim women has made us targets for harassment, ridicule, hate crimes and unfair legislation. So having Barbie, one of the most widely recognized cultural icons, being portrayed in a hijab is a major development and deserves all of the praise.  However, her hijab this is not the most revolutionary aspect of this launch.


Modeled after Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad, hijabi Barbie is Black, Black, Black.

black barbie1

Being a Black Muslim woman means being a representation of three of the most discriminated against groups in America.  Not only do we not fit into mainstream American culture, which is tough enough, but we are also minorities in the Black community for being Muslim and in the Muslim community for being Black.

Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad holds a Barbie doll made in her likeness as she attends the 2017 Glamour Women of the Year Awards at the Kings Theater in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly - RC1A48806CA0

Black people have long felt ostracized from the Muslim community and have fought for our representation through hashtags such as #BlackOutEid by Aamina Mohamed and the creation of podcasts such as “Identity Politics” by Ikhlas Saleem and Makkah Ali.  Many of us felt that these cries for inclusion had fallen on dead ears until the Barbie announcement this week.

Black representation matters.

One day as a mother, I will get to put this Barbie in their hands and show them that they can be both Black and Muslim without hesitation.  They don’t have to choose.  The two aren’t mutually exclusive.  We exist.  It’s about time we started being visually represented.

So with this, I ask you in your discussions regarding hijabi Barbie, praise her for her religious representation through hijab but please do not erase her skin.  It’s Black Hijabi Barbie.  Black representation matters.