Much before the era of influencers, Madam C.J Walker became the first ever self-made female millionaire – all thanks to her line of hair care products that were specifically made keeping Black women in mind. At a time when most hair products for Black women were manufactured by white businesses, Walker’s iron combs, lotions, and pomades were the first of their kind. Walker employed her own people to sell their products which helped her scale her business. She managed to gain the trust of her people and became a millionaire. Even after she lost her life, her name is synonymous with self-care.
Her daughter A’Lelia Walker later changed her mother’s Manhattan townhouse into a salon for members of the Harlem residents in the 1920s. Even today, Walker is one of the well-known figures in the self-care industry. Recently, Walker’s great-granddaughter, along with Barbie designer Carlyle Nuera decided to immortalize her legacy by getting her own Barbie doll. Apart from being a successful businessman, Walker was also an activist and philanthropist who advocated for the rights of Black women. She helped the people in her community to become financially independent by establishing clubs for her employees. She also offered bonuses to people who gave back to the community.
Bundles and Nuera are said to have worked hard to bring the doll to life in the most authentic way possible. Walker’s doll is seen wearing a royal purple and turquoise coloured dress and also comes with an accessory – a miniature version of her iconic hair grower. This is the same hair conditioning and healing solution that Walker claimed was revealed to her in a dream. Walker had been facing hair fall issues, after which she was able to make her own formula to curb the same. In a conversation with USA Today, Bundles said that the doll with the accessory was created to highlight that Walker manufactured hair care products and for the younger generations to think about her as a successful businesswoman.
In an interview with NPR, Bundles spoke about the relevance of the doll. She said every time a little kid picks up the doll, they will see it as something different from the generic dolls. It shows them someone who was a philanthropist, a boss an advocate for social justice. This would help the kids get one of those narratives. It is also for the kids to know that there are dolls that look like them, so they don’t have to feel excluded and realize they are a part of this world. The Madam C.J Walker Barbie is part of Mattel’s ‘Inspiring Women Series,’ which features several courageous women of their times who took risks and paved the way for the next generations to dream bigger.
This includes renowned women like Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks, and Ella Fitzgerald. The dolls come with a small biography of these female icons and their contribution to changing the world. The Walker doll is available at Walmart and Amazon for $35. Just so you know Madam C.J Walker’s hair products are very much available and relevant in the market even today.