Please Take My Poll! You Can Vote For More
Than One Head Mold. How would you describe
the black male faces in the Barbie line? As African
American (AA) Ken or African American friends of
Ken or just AA Mattel males? Which one is correct?
Well it depends on the time and the doll. So let me
explain. After the whole Francie thing (two dolls
with the same face done in black white), Mattel
stopped making a black and white doll with the
same head mold… for a little while. Here
is my history of the dolls. Please note this is my
opinion. I do consider AA Malibu a different head
mold than Brad/Curtis but not many of the variation
on Jamal/Steve as the same head mold.
1. The first African American male doll to be
produced by Mattel is Brad. He was produced in
1969 and on the market in 1970. He was not a black
version of Ken; he had his own African American
face. He is one of my favorite male faces and one
of my favorite dolls done by Mattel. Brad came out
to be the boyfriend to Christie, who was an AA
friend to Barbie. He wasn’t marketed as Ken friend
but as Barbie’s friend. Hmm…I’ll leave that to you
imagination. Any way, he was the first AA male in
the Barbie line.
2. Exit Brad and enter Curtis Brad was fazed out
a few years later and was replaced with Curtis in
1975. Curtis had the same head mold as Brad but
a different (redder) complexion.
Sunsational Malibu Ken-1981
3. In 1981 the first AA version of Ken appeared.
His features were similar to Brad/Curtis. He was
the AA Sunsational Malibu Ken. He was the first
AA rooted hair doll.
Sunsational Malibu Ken-1983
4. AA Sunsational Malibu Ken head mold was replaced
1983 with a new AA Ken face with molded black hair.
This head mold became the new AA doll for the next
four years. It was also the head mold for the AA
Heart Family Dad. So if you are counting, that’s
two friends and two Kens. This is where things
start to get interesting.
1988 ushers in Steven. Steven becomes the new
name of all African American male dolls not called
Ken and was described as a friend of Ken. Steven is
the longest running doll in the Barbie line.
5. In 1988 there were two AA dolls on the market.
There was Steven and an AA Ken. They both had the
same head mold but the AA Ken had a mustache at
6. With the introduction of the Shani doll line of
AA dolls by Mattel in 1997, Jamal (with and with
out mustache) becomes the new Steven head mold.
This head mold has the longest run. One of the
biggest complains about the previous AA head molds
is that they all looked the same. Mattel did more
modifications on the Steven/Jamal head then they
did on any previous AA head mold. Mattel changed
his complexion, and he was produced in several shades,
they change his hair style from the “Philly fade”
(two tone) of the “Splash 'n Color” Steven to a filled
in black hair of the Pearl Beach Steven. The hair was
rooted in on some of the Steven dolls like the Concert
Date Steven. Many had eye color changes too. There was
a hair and eye color change with Cali Girl Steven. His
eyes were blue and his hair was brown. They even changed
the lip color too. These changes gave him a different
look and character.
The Steven/Jamal head mold
The Steven Jamal head mold was
used and alter for many of the AA princes in the Barbie
line as well. In 2004, when Mattel reacted to the lost
in sales to Bratz dolls by enlarging the head size of
it’s Barbie doll line, the Steven/Jamal head mold was
enlarged and pressed into action. The Steven/ Jamal face
was use for High School Musical Chad (first issue), Zeke
(Sorry, no photo. He is on my wish list!),Darren and the
Happy Family grandfather’s head too.
AA Alan -2002
7. Happy Family AA Alan was released in 2002. He was
the husband in the Happy Family which consisted or a
Wife, midge, son Ryan, daughter Nikki. Grand parents
were added. He was sold with son Ryan in matching plaid
shirt, white tank and khakis Second release was in 2003.
On this doll Mattel used the same face for the AA and
the White doll.
8. In 2008 Steven would change again and borrow the
head of AA Prince Antonio who had gray/blue eye for the new Steven.
As African American (AA) Ken or African
American friends of Ken Other AA dolls
I will also mention who are not Called Steven or Ken but
are AA Mattel dolls are:
9. In the 1990 MC Hammer was a popular Rapper. Mattel
created a doll in his likeness and it was released in
1991. The doll wore a purple suit black tank and black
shoes and there was also a gold suit version.
Flava Tre’ -2003
10. Flava Tre’ debuting in 2003 also as a reaction
to Bratz sales. Tre’ was produced in two hair colors
black and light brown and two eye colors green and
light brown. Both hair colors had a mustached version.
High School Musical 3- Chad-
11. 2008 A popular Disney musical movie produced it
own ine of dolls. High school Musical 3 Chad was
released in 2009 for the third movie. He had a new
head mold and didn’t barrow the Jamal/Steven head
of previous dolls.
Barbie Basic # 17 -2011
12. Barbie Basic # 17 Yes! That is what Mattel calls
him. We might call him something else but that is
what Mattel calls him Debuted in 2011 in Collection
002 as an African-American doll with cropped hair.
Other AA dolls who are not Called Steven or Ken but
are AA Mattel dolls.