Christie is the greatest and her story will make you love her even more.
"I'd ike to be a fashion model" Talking Christie, 1968. A brave and defiant phrase then! Only three years before the black model Donyale Luna was in the 6 pages of a Richard Avedon editorial in the magazine Harpers Bazaar. That made subscriptors want to cancel, shops to return their magazines and companies to retire their publicity but Donyale didn't stop, she went to London and, in a year, she was the cover of Vogue England. After that worked with personalities like Warhol, Dalí or Fellini in the movie Satyricon. Sadly the first black supermodel died young but lighted the path for those who wanted to change the norms. For this reason Christie's message is so important, defying and brave: I will be whatever I want to be.
A remarkable thing was the dashiki, worn in the second version of Talking Christie matching Brad's one. Dashikis were worn originally in the west of Africa but were adopted in the 60s mainly by afroamericans as a symbol of black pride and the fight for their rights. They could share clothes with their friends, Barbie, Ken and Stacie so they could summ to the cause as many white students did too. Christie and Brad's dashiki linked Barbie with that fight instead with the white rancic supremacy.
In the first editions she had a bouffant but in the 1971 edition she wore a "natural" proudly. Artists like Nina Simone or the Jackson Five wore it through the 60s and 70s but its promoter was Angela Davis who fought for the women and black people rights (still does) and was victim of a complot when she became akward for the factic power. She was pursued and accused of conspiracy, assassination and participation in a shooting by the FBI but they could never prove it.
The first Christie mold ended with the Malibu line and in the following years the Steffie mold, the Ethnic mold and the Superstar were used until 1988 when a new face for Christie was launched, the New Christie but this mold has impersonated Barbie more times than Christie herself and since 1980, when the wonderful Black Barbie designed by Kitty Black Perkins was launched on the market, many of the models began to be made in both Caucasian and African-American versions with all the sense in the world because, although Christie is the greatest, the children want to feel identified with the starr of the story and that is Barbie.
With the 90s came the Shani line also designed by Kitty Black Perkins and for which new molds were made, sculpted by Hussein Abbo, that Christie would later use until her disappearance at the beginning of the millennium. Shani was a line of African-American dolls that promised to be more ethnically correct but, despite counting on the advice of Dr. Darlene Powell-Hopson, child psychologist and co-author of the book Different and Wonderful, did not prosper as believed and had a short life.
I don't think that Mattel made Christie deliberately. Maybe now would be a great moment to bring her back and teach the children how proud she stood for her people and genre. Maybe they would learn a thing or two about empowerment and respect so in the future, we won't see the violence of nowadays, because a society that doesn't know its history is condemned to repeat the same mistakes.
by The Barbiest