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Cardi B Releases Doll, Then Deactivates Her Twitter Account

By Gary Symons

TLL Editor in Chief

The famous and sometimes infamous rapper Cardi B has released her own limited edition fashion doll, and within three minutes the doll had sold out, and Cardi B deactivated her Twitter account after a spat with fans.

The release of the Cardi B doll was timed to coincide with Women’s History Month, and was put out through the newly formed enterprise Real Women Are, “a new diverse and inclusive doll brand.”

The good news for Cardi B and Real Women Are is that the 10,000 copies of the limited release doll sold out within minutes. The bad news, that Cardi B quickly came under criticism by fans who complained she should be producing more music, not dolls for kids. As well, some critics have questioned whether the controversial rapper, who recently released the sexually graphic music video WAP, is the right choice as a role model for young children. Upset with the criticism about not putting out new music, Cardi B took down her Twitter account the same morning as the product release.

“I have so much pressure. I’m working on a lot of s–t to please people,” she shared. “I wanna please my fans, because y’all been asking for something from me for a very long time that I can’t say, and I’m doing it for ya.”

For Real Women Are, however, it’s full speed ahead with the Cardi B doll, a product they hope to repeat with other prominent artists of color. “An experienced and risk-taking female entrepreneur, Cardi B inspired and created the doll in her outspoken, colorful and confident likeness,” the company says in a statement issued March 5. “In celebration of the power of authenticity and diversity, Cardi B has teamed up with Real Women Are, a groundbreaking doll brand inspired by influential and impactful women of color created for girls.

“The partnership between Cardi B and Real Women Are represents a collection of firsts for the artist and the new brand. This is Cardi B’s first doll as she provided inspiration, led creative direction and was an integral part of the production process. Real Women Are is the first minority-women owned and led doll brand targeting women and girls of all ethnicities backed by the National Entertainment Collectibles Association (NECA), whose toy division was started nearly 20 years ago.”

The company also says that, for both Cardi B and NECA, “the launch of the Real Women Are brand is especially timely as Gen Z and Gen Alpha girls come of age in today’s cultural landscape that recognizes the need for diversity, inclusion and representation on an unprecedented scale.”

Cardi B says that need for representation was key to her taking part in the project, of which she holds an ownership stake. “As everyone knows, I’m a mom, and today, more than ever, it’s important to me to give my daughter inspiration and badass women to look up to,” said Cardi B. “Working with Real Women Are is a chance for me to provide my daughter and other little girls something that looks like them to play with to inspire them. We’re in the White House now, but we’re still so far behind in other places. Representation matters.”

While Cardi B complained of lack of representation in the doll and toy industry, other companies have been working to better represent the racial and cultural diversity of our world. Toymaker Mattel has been working on that front for years now, particularly with its Barbie Role Model campaign running across multiple global markets. This week in the UK, Mattel unveiled a new, one-of-a-kind Barbie doll in the likeness of the popular BBC broadcaster, Clara Amfo. Best known for hosting her Radio One show, Amfo has interviewed some of the world’s most prolific artists, from Jay-Z to Ariana Grande. She also hosts her own successful podcast, This City, in which famous friends tell their stories about London life.

Last summer, amid the widespread unrest over the tragic death of US man George Floyd at the hands of police, Amfo made a powerful on-air speech with a call to action for anti-racism that went viral. She became widely recognised as a powerful force for change across UK media, joining 15 other activists on the cover of the September issue of British Vogue. “I have been lucky enough to experience some really special moments in my professional life and to say that I am honoured to be named a Barbie Role Model would be an understatement,” Amfo said. “There is so much power in being able to see yourself reflected positively in the world as an adult and it’s even more potent as a child. That power and the confidence that comes with it should only be protected and amplified.”

Clara Amfo, with the newly released version of Barbie in her likeness, released through Mattel’s Barbie Role Model program in the UK.

Cardi B announced the product during her appearance on The Today Show Friday morning. Cardi said she was inspired after shopping at stores and not finding dolls that looked like her or her two-year-old daughter, Kulture.

Backed by toy and collectible juggernaut NECA, the Real Women Are brand is majority-owned and run by women of color and the influential women who inspire the dolls themselves, called the Real Women Alliance. The goal of the brand and the Real Women Alliance is to provide dolls that celebrate powerful women and champion authenticity.

“What makes Real Women Are special is that young girls of color are a priority to the doll brand,” shared Cardi B. “We want them to know that they are special. That they are worthy of having a toy that looks like them. We’re not building Real Women Are as an afterthought or something just to check off a box. Creating a doll that is a mirror of our daughters, nieces and granddaughters is at our very core.”

But not everyone is thrilled at seeing a doll intended for children based on the WAP star. While Cardi B was particularly angered by fans who questioned the lack of musical output, others questioned whether Cardi B is the appropriate figure on which to base a child’s toy.

“Why does Cardi B have a doll for children 4+ and why is it dressed like this?” asked one Twitter user. “No wonder she deactivated her account.” Another, going by the handle Badsito, complained, “Cardi b is such a bad role model and she’s out here selling dolls to little kids.”

That said, most Twitter followers appeared to support the doll release, and those that did complain were primarily annoyed about Cardi spending time on releasing a child’s toy rather than a new album or song.

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