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Barbie pays tribute to Bessie Coleman with new Inspiring Women series doll


(NEW YORK) — Barbie is honoring the life and legacy of Bessie Coleman with a new doll.

Coleman, whose birthday falls on Jan. 26, was the first Black and Native American female aviator and the first Black person to ever earn an international pilot’s license.

The late American pioneer is being honored as part of the toymaker’s Inspiring Women line of dolls for inspiring generations of women and people of color to explore a career in aviation.

Barbie teamed up with Coleman’s great niece Gigi Coleman, the president of The Bessie Coleman Aviation All-Stars, to ensure the aviator’s legacy was represented in its truest form.

The doll wears a brown hat emblazoned with her historic initials — “BC” — an olive green belted aviator suit and lace-up boots, much like Coleman wore.

“As someone who has dedicated much of my life to encouraging youth of all backgrounds to explore careers in aviation, my family and I commend Barbie for expanding my great aunt’s legacy in such an overwhelming tribute, with a Bessie Coleman Inspiring Women doll,” Gigi Coleman said in a statement. “Keeping Bessie’s legacy alive has always been a labor of love for my family, and we are proud to recognize her determination and accomplishments for Black women in aviation and continue to share my great aunt’s pioneering spirit with fans of all ages.”

She added, “We hope through this doll more people will discover Bessie’s story and be inspired. Stories have power, I grew up on anecdotes of my great-aunt’s courage and look forward to sharing them in my upcoming book.”

Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie & Dolls at Mattel, also spoke highly of the company’s latest launch.

“Bessie is a remarkable icon to inspire children everywhere to soar to greater heights,” she said in a statement.

The Bessie Coleman Inspiring Women Doll is now available to shop at several mass retailers.

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