On Jan. 26 [Bessie Coleman’s Birthday], Barbie released their Inspiring Women Doll in her honor.
The doll was created in partnership with American Airlines, the first commercial airline to hire a Black pilot. American Airlines flight 771 had an all-Black female flight crew in honor of Coleman, with passengers receiving a Barbie x American Airlines gift bag. Founder of the Bessie Coleman Aviation All-stars and great niece of Bessie Coleman Gigi Coleman also joined the flight.
Gigi feels this is a way to keep the legacy of Bessie alive.
“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 has always 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.
The Inspiring Women series debuted in 2018 to honor historical and modern role models for generations of girls. So far, the series has paid tribute to a diverse lineup of women including Madam C.J. Walker, Dr. Jane Goodall, Ida B. Wells, Dr. Maya Angelou, Helen Keller, Eleanor Roosevelt, Amelia Earhart, Katherine Johnson, Frida Kahlo, Rosa Parks, Sally Ride, Billie Jean King, Ella Fitzgerald, Florence Nightingale, and Susan B. Anthony.
Representation in all career paths within aviation remains deeply significant, which is why we are intentional in our efforts to diversify the flight deck,” said Christina Flores, Managing Director of Aviation Recruiting and Programs, American Airlines. “Our partnership with Barbie inspires young girls of color to dream of new career possibilities as pilots and leaders in our industry, building upon Bessie Coleman’s rich legacy.”
The doll is available on Mattel Creations, Target, Amazon and Mattel for $35.