Is Barbie still Relevant?


This effort to remake Barbie as a progressive icon appears to be a calculated business decision on Mattel’s part to win over today’s millennial parents. While Barbie is still a powerful force in the toy market, generating $971 million in sales in 2016, younger parents have been less keen on buying the doll for their daughters than those in generations past.  Mattel has seen sales of Barbie spiral downward since 2009.

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In other words, Barbie is caught in a bind: Mattel needs to sell parents on more progressive versions of the doll, but it might take years of marketing for this new version of Barbie to become familiar and exciting enough for kids to want them. “You have to do more than offer one of these curvy or career dolls in the corner,” Brown says. “It’s a chicken and egg problem: If you offer enough of these dolls, over time, once kids get used to them, eventually they will start asking for them. Then the dolls will become profitable and it would be worth stocking them.”

Barbie 2018 Lineup inclusive

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Jesse Williams BET awards show speech [full transcript]


“Peace. Peace. Thank you Debra. Thank you, Nate Parker. Thank you, Harry and Debbie Allen, for participating in that.

“Before we get into it, I just want to say I brought my parents out tonight — I just want to thank them for being here and teaching me to focus on comprehension over career. They made sure I learned what the schools were afraid to teach us. And also, thank you to my amazing wife for changing my life.

Jesse Williams BP salute-BET awards-comp

“Now, this award, this is not for me. This is for the real organizers all over the country. The activists, the civil rights attorneys, the struggling parents, the families, the teachers, the students that are realizing that a system built to divide and impoverish and destroy us cannot stand if we do. All right? It’s kind of basic mathematics. The more we learn about who we are and how we got here, the more we will mobilize.

“Now, this is also in particular for the black women in particular who have spent their lifetimes dedicated to nurturing everyone before themselves. We can and will do better for you.

“Now, what we’ve been doing is looking at the data and we know that police somehow manage to deescalate, disarm and not kill white people every day. So what’s going to happen is we’re going to have equal rights and justice in our own country or we will restructure their function in ours.

“Now, [standing ovation] I got more, y’all.

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Dispatch from Freelancia.


I can say for certain that, to whatever extent I’m on anyone’s radar as a writer about culture, race, motherhood, or anything else, it’s owed to my online presence. Everyone goes about growing a readership differently. My way has been slow, with an emphasis on quality over quantity (even now, though it’s thrilling to occasionally discover raw numbers of clicks or unique visitors, I try not to linger too long on the size of an essay’s reading audience. I care more about how memorable and affecting a piece is, what — if anything lasting — it contributes to the larger discourse on an issue, and what — if anything — it compels a reader to do). Interacting with people online, thanking them for reading and sharing my work, trying to emphasize to them that we’re in ongoing dialogue and that I’m trying not to write at them, so much as to them, and that I’m not interested in having the last word on any topic, simply because I’ve been fortunate enough to have my word published — these are the cornerstones of approach to writing for new media and for growing an audience in a grossly oversaturated market.

—stacia l. brown
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Drugs & Branding



The promises that some of the baggies offered was just really intriguing,” he says. “References in the names reflected the addict’s illusions of grandeur So Amazing, Rolex, High Life but also the insidious destructive nature of drugs and the ultimate end game Flatliner, Dead Medicine, Killa.”

The collection, featured in the book All In: Buying Into The Drug Trade, is  a typology of misery. MacIndoe says the dark, occasionally comic branding epitomize black-market entrepreneurship and risk. Names like ‘9 Lives’ and ‘Black Jack’ are a sick nod to the risks inherent in a daily heroin habit.


viaThe Dark, Ironic Branding Drug Dealers Use to Sell Heroin | WIRED.