Saturday, April 16, 2011

Black Male Faces In The Barbie Line!

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
the time.

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.

Steven/Antonio -2008
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:

MC Hammer-1990
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.


Ms. Leo said...

I'm sorry to all of you who previously commented to this post. I am still having difficulties!!!!!!

Ms. Leo said...

From: EbonyNicole30

This is a great list of all the Black Male dolls that came out over the years!

From: Vanessa

Great post. Very informative. I never knew the Flavas dolls were actually from Mattel. I never really bonded with those dolls. I think at the time I was taking a break from Barbies.

From: Frannie

Thanks for the info!

From: Ms. Leo

Welcome Frannie! Thanks for the comment.
Thanks Vanessa. I only really like the boys in the line. I purchased them and the clothes but not the girls.

Thanks EbonyNicole30.
Some of this dolls are hard to find now.

From :Niel Camhalla

I find this entry very informative! I have a few male dolls and only 2 (I think) are AA. As much as I want to get more, I find it difficult. I really appreciate sharing your dolls like this. PS I think it's crappy that all the Basic Jeans were sold in our local stores except the Model 17!

From: Ms. Leo

Niel, that's a raw deal!! I really like him alot too! AA dolls aren't given their due. Only the AA francie of the playline doll is given value. I have been lucky to add so many of these dolls to my collection. I have regreted any of their purchases. Thanks for commenting.

D7ana said...

Neat article, Ms. Leo! Thanks for sharing your findings.

x said...

This is such great information. thanks for posting this.

Anonymous said...

Ms. Leo - this is a great reference article. I am going to repost from my blog if that's okay with you. Back when I was first putting Leah's collection together last summer I thought I was going to have to use all SIS Darrens but then of course, I discovered eBay.

jonsay24 said...

Hey does anyone know where I can find to purchase the ken malibu african american doll? I use to have one when I was young and I want to get one for my girls! please if you know let me know I would really like to get one

Ms. Leo said...

Hi jonsay24. Thanks for commenting on my blog. I can only think of Ebay. This doll came out so long ago. With the economy, a few people are sell old doll for cash. You may be able to find one.

KenPaul66 said...

I got Flava Tre’ & the High School musical doll last weekend at the flea-market. Score !

Ms. Leo said...

Hi Adventures In Gay Dating! I must have missed this post. I'm soo sorry! I have been able to luck up on on another Tre'. That's really geat for you. I'll have to checkout your blog too!

Unknown said...

How 'bout making Yours Truly a doll?(Or,
because I'm 60,and black,boyishly handsome and muscular,an adult "action figure?)

Ms. Leo said...

Brad it sounds like you just did. LOL!

Unknown said...

Yeah,Ms. Leo,but would you make a handsome older but still randy black action figure-I'm deciding on his name-if I sent you a picture of this new dude doll?

Valsays said...

Thank you SO MUCH for this handy guide!

Ms. Leo said...

Thanks for your comments Brad and Valsays!

Brad, maybe!

Valsays, you're welcome!!

Unknown said...

I feel like there might be one or two you are missing, but they may be NOT vintage.

Ms. Leo said...

Thanks for your comment Theresa! This post was done in 2011, so newer dolls were available then. Also this was just of different head sculpts by Mattel. There have been other AA male dolls but not by Mattel. Kattis Dolls is a good source for info on doll heads!

Jeanie said...

I picked up one of the four in the last picture at a thrift store. Have you any idea who those four might be?

Ms. Leo said...

Thanks for your comment Jeanie Schmidt, the dolls in the last picture from left to right are MC Hammer, Flava Tre, High School Musical Chad and (the rarest of all) Barbie Basic AA Ken #17!

Unknown said...

You forgot Michael Jackson

Ms. Leo said...

Sam Jones, welcome to my blog! Michael Jackson doll was by Mattel! Sorry!

Anonymous said...

Im waiting for an albino African American Mattel doll.

Ms. Leo said...

Thanks for your comment Unknown! I wish I knew your name! I don't think that Mattel will do an albino African American male doll. I surprised that they did a girl! There are many doll that some are saying a albino African American girl dolls. Mattel needs the pressure of another company to do things!