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Barbie adds more diverse dolls, including Ken in a wheelchair

There will even be a wheelchair ramp for the Barbie Dreamhouse.
/ Source: TODAY

It's been six years since Barbie released its line of Fashionistas, a collection of male and female dolls who have a variety of different skin tones, body types, eye and hair colors.

In 2020, Mattel added even more unique features to the line, like Barbie dolls who use wheelchairs or prosthetic limbs, have vitiligo and more.

This year, Mattel has announced that it will be increasing the diversity of the popular doll line, continuing to bring kids the option to play with dolls who look more like themselves and the people around them.

In addition to last year's Barbie dolls with wheelchairs, a Ken doll who uses a wheelchair will be released for the first time ever. Additional Barbies with wheelchairs also are on the way in 2021. They will come with updated accessories, including ramps compatible with the Barbie Dreamhouse.

Mattel says of the top 10 Fashionista dolls sold in the world last year, the Barbies who use wheelchairs were the second most popular. Also popular was a Ken doll who, for the first time, had rooted hair.

This year's line will include a new Ken doll who is Black and has rooted hair that reflects the style of an afro.

The 2021 line of Barbie Fashionistas.
The 2021 line of Barbie Fashionistas.Mattel

Expanding on the line's most popular dolls, Mattel will also release a second Barbie who is white and has vitiligo, an accompaniment to last year's Black doll with the skin condition.

In a statement provided to TODAY, Lisa McKnight, a senior vice president at Mattel, said Barbie works hard to help kids see themselves reflected in the dolls.

"Barbie brand is more relevant than ever," McKnight said. "We take great responsibility in better reflecting the world around us and know there are many positive benefits to exposing children to dolls with different skin tones, hair types, abilities and more."

The brand also released a Maya Angelou doll earlier this month as a part of its inspiring women series.

The dolls will be available for purchase at Target, Walmart and Amazon, and will roll out in two waves in the spring and fall of 2021.

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