Barbie Basics Model No. 04 from Collections 001 and 002
Mattel's decision to change the complexion of Barbie Basics Model No. 04 from ebony to white has many collectors perplexed. One such collector recently brought this to my attention. Jorge (from Brazil) wrote:
I don't know if you wrote something about the dramatic change of the Model Number 4 in the Barbie Basics Black/Jeans. But if you didn't I think you must... The dark skin girl was a success, all over the world. And suddenly there's no more Afro girl in the Basic Jeans, and the stunning dark skin girl becomes a red [haired] lady. Ok we love red hair, but it's important to preserve the success of the Afro beauty of a doll [like] Model Number 4. Black Doll Collecting must talk about it.I am doing just that... talking/writing about it.
After comparing all Barbie Basics collections to date, like Jorge and his fellow Brazilians, I am also troubled by the elimination of the ebony complexion/Afro hairstyle combination used for the first Model No. 04. Initially, Mattel replaced the doll in Collection 002 with the white, denim jeans-clad redhead shown above.
Model No. 04 will make a third appearance this June in the Barbie Basics Collection 002.5. The hair color is darker, the Goddess head sculpt the same, but the white complexion remains. As Jorge observed, the Barbie Basics Collection has not offered another ebony-complexioned doll since the first Model No. 04.
I also noticed the disappearance of Model No. 10. She has been missing in action since Collection 001. Remember her LBD with the controversial plunging neckline? She is also the doll I used as my playscale version of First Lady Obama.
Back to the current topic.
"Basically," the only dark-skinned doll (and she's not very dark) that has remained relatively constant in this collection is Model No. 08 -- the Beyoncé-complexioned doll with honey blonde hair. Model No. 08 was present in Collection 001, the Target-exclusive Collection Red, Collection 002, and will appear again in Collection 002.5. Does her light-bright-darn-near white... or tan complexion play a role in her inclusion?
Will the ebony-complexioned Model No. 04 ever return or has she been permanently annihilated/axed, bumped off, canceled, discarded/dissed, excluded, gotten rid of, killed, left out, ousted, phased out, rejected/retired, stamped out, terminated? And, finally, will Model No. 08 remain the lone, light caramel brown doll in the Barbie Basics Collection?
Thanks for bringing this to my attention, Jorge! Your observation is proof that it's not just me or other frustrated American collectors who desire dolls with melanin-rich-appearing complexions.
As Jorge further explained,
As you know, we have a grand Afro-descendant population here, and the Barbie Basics Number 4 was a success exactly for [representing] the beauty of the dark skin girls. And many of [these] girls believe in the power of a good image.Globally, people usually enjoy seeing themselves in the dolls they collect. When one is given and later snatched away for no apparent reason, they feel highly disregarded.
A dark skin model in the Barbie Basics Collection for sure was a good step for the self-esteem of these young ladies. So the surprise [about] the change of Model No. 04 was not exactly well taken [by] many people here...