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Mattel releases Dr. Maya Angelou Barbie to honor iconic author and activist

The brand pledged to feature diverse dolls that honor role models.
/ Source: TODAY
Barbie's Maya Angelou doll will be available for purchase at Target starting on January 14.
Barbie's Maya Angelou doll will be available for purchase at Target starting on January 14.Getty Images/ Mattel

Barbie has announced the latest historical icon to be honored in the inspiring women series.

Dr. Maya Angelou, the poet and author who frequently wrote about civil rights and racism, died in 2014 at age 86, but her works, such as her renowned autobiography "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," continue to inspire readers. Mattel said paying tribute to Angelou's legacy was important.

"(Mattel) knows children's early childhood experiences shape what they imagine to be possible, so it's important that all girls not only see themselves reflected in product and content, but to also see role models who've come before them," the company said in a press release.

They also announced a commitment to women of color in the series. "In 2021 and going forward, more than 50% of global role models featured will be Black, Indigenous and women of color."

The Maya Angelou Barbie doll, which comes with a tiny copy of "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" and is dressed in a head wrap and floral, floor-length dress, is available for purchase at Target now and retails for $29.99.

Mattel launched the collection of inspiring women in 2018. Other historical figures honored have included Rosa Parks, Ella Fitzgerald, Frida Kahlo and Amelia Earhart.

Angelou's son, Guy Johnson, said in a statement he is "delighted" that his mother was chosen for Barbie's inspiring women line and hopes the Barbie Maya Angelou doll "will inspire new generations of teachers, writers and activists."

"My mother, Dr. Maya Angelou, was a pioneer and an activist with an invincible spirit for justice," the statement reads. "Through her words and actions, she developed a unique ability to create deep connections with people around the world. She used to say, 'I write from the Black perspective, but I aim for the human heart.'"