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The first Black fashion doll to go by the "Barbie" name was issued by Mattel in 1979.

Many parents objected to the appearance of the doll . The facial features of the doll were identical to the regular White Barbie doll, the only difference being skin tone. It was hoped that the doll would have more generically African American features.

Another source of controversy was that the doll had a short curly afro, bright red lips, and a gold and red sequined outfit that would make any Solid Gold dancer proud.

Subsequent versions of the Black Barbie were attired less like backup singers and more like regular gals with impossible physical dimensions.

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