Barbie has officially announced the launch of the Bessie Coleman Inspiring Women doll, recognizing the first Black and Native American female pilot with a doll made in her likeness, in advance of her birthday, January 26th, and in celebration of Black History Month. To ensure Bessie’s legacy is truly represented, Barbie teamed up with Gigi Coleman, Bessie’s great-niece and President of The Bessie Coleman Aviation All-Stars, to celebrate this Inspiring Women Doll.
As part of the celebration of Bessie Coleman’s legacy, Barbie is also:
· Partnering with Bessie Coleman Aviation All-Stars, a not-for-profit organization founded by Bessie’s great-niece, Gigi Coleman, that promotes the legacy of Bessie through STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) programming, educates students in the fundamentals of aeronautics, introduces students to various careers in aviation and explores historical and cultural aviation figures.
· Partnering with Girls Write Now, a non-profit organization that has been breaking down barriers of gender, race, age and poverty to mentor the next generation of writers and leaders for the past 25 years. Through a Barbie Dream Gap Project donation, Barbie will help supply high school girls and gender-expansive young adults with writing and publishing programs and introduce role models to inspire the next generation of writers and leaders. The special programming includes a Barbie Branded Virtual Salon event with Gigi Coleman, Bessie Coleman’s great-niece on Friday, February 3rd, 2023 from 6-7:15pm ET.
· After a month of planning, Barbie is teaming up with American Airlines – the first commercial airline to hire a Black pilot – on a surprise and delight moment for passengers on a (one) flight operated by an all-Black female flight crew on January 26, 2023, Bessie’s birthday. This moment follows American Airlines’ Bessie Coleman Aviation All-Stars tour that took flight with an all-Black female crew in August 2022.
“As someone who has dedicated much of my life to encouraging youth of all backgrounds to explore careers in aviation, my family and I commend Barbie for expanding my great aunt’s legacy in such an overwhelming tribute, with a Bessie Coleman Inspiring Women doll. Keeping Bessie’s legacy alive hasalways been a labor of love for my family, and we are proud to recognize her determination and accomplishments for Black women in aviation and continue to share my great aunt’s pioneering spirit with fans of all ages. We hope through this doll more people will discover Bessie’s story and be inspired. Stories have power, I grew up on anecdotes of my great-aunt’s courage and look forward to sharing them in my upcoming book. ” – Gigi Coleman, Great Niece of Bessie Coleman, Author, and President of The Bessie Coleman Aviation All-Stars, committed to expanding opportunities in aviation for disadvantaged youth.
“Bessie Coleman broke monumental boundaries for women and people of color during her career as an aviator. As the first Black and Native American female pilot, Bessie is a remarkable icon to inspire children everywhere to soar to greater heights. Barbie is thrilled to introduce the Bessie Coleman Inspiring Women doll and continue to amplify Bessie’s passion for encouraging people of color to pursue careers in aviation.” – Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel.