Maya Angelou has been many things during her lifetime, from an award-winning poet to an actress and activist. And it looks like the much-loved public figure will continue to inspire generations in years to come, through her work … and a new model likeness.
Mattel, the company behind Barbie, has launched a Maya Angelou doll, to be added to its Inspiring Women series, alongside figures such as Rosa Parks, Frida Kahlo, Ella Fitzgerald and Florence Nightingale.
The figure has been "sculpted to her likeness", complete with a head wrap and dress with a floral print, and is seen holding a copy of her world-famous 1970s autobiography I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
According to Mattel, the Maya Angelou Barbie doll is being presented to "honour the history and impact of her activism, impact and achievements" which include over 50 honorary doctorates, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the title of the first African-American and female poet to speak at a US presidential inauguration, when she appeared at Bill Clinton's 1993 ceremony.
"[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.
Angelou's son, Guy Johnson, told Today that he is "delighted" that his mother was chosen for the series and hopes that it "will inspire new generations of teachers, writers and activists".
The doll is priced at $29.99 and has already sold out online. While shoppers have praised the initiative by Barbie to shine a light on more inspirational women of colour, others have added they want to see greater production for such pieces, so they are easier to acquire.