New black Barbie doll launched after ‘Michelle Obama effect’

Doll is the first black Barbie to hit UK stores in 30 years

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A black version of Barbie will go on sale in the UK for the first time in almost 30 years, in a move that beauty experts have put down to the Michelle Obama effect.

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A new range of black and mixed-race Barbies with “fuller lips, a wider nose and more pronounced cheek bones” have been created by manufacturer Mattel to make sure Barbie remains “culturally relevant”.

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The designs are very different from Barbie’s first black friend, Francie, who appeared in 1967, and was more like a darker coloured version of white Barbie. Irene Shelley, editor of Black Beauty and Hair magazine, said, “This is obviously part of the ‘Michelle Obama effect’. There’s been a lot of interest in her and her daughters, and that will make retailers rethink what they can sell.”

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