Chicago Woman Showcases Black Barbies Project

When I was growing up, my mom bought me Black dolls exclusively. She knew the world was filled with European standards of beauty and that I would be bombarded with them. She wanted to make sure that I was armed with the tools I needed to love myself. 

Because of my parents I love the hell out of my Blackness. Even when I was faced with white people in every Disney princess movie or on every fashion ad, I never saw myself as less than. In fact, I questioned why would anyone not want to be Black? 

As I got older, my love of self only grew. And to this day, I love my hair. I love my skin. I love my brown eyes. Thank you Mom and Dad for giving me this gift. 

Because I loved myself so deeply, I loved all people with melanin-infused hues. Blackness was my superpower and I thought all Black people were super heroes. 

Something I didn’t realize until now was that this act of giving me Black dolls was an act of resistance. An act of going against what society deems beautiful. 

I would later learn that many times my mom had to hunt to find the Black version of whatever doll was popular at the time. She’d spend hours driving, going into stores, hunting to find the doll that reflected the beauty of her little brown-skinned girl.

Loving yourself as a Black woman is an act of resistance. And so, I give you this piece filled with all of my Black Barbies resisting.

Sydney Cusic is a senior at New York University.


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