Introducing

Asha, African American Collection, Third Edition

from the prestigious Barbie Shani Line



SHIPPING: If you order multiple dolls, please contact me; so, I can reduce your shipping price.


This listing is for the beautiful and collectible Barbie doll, Asha, African American Collection, Third Edition from Mattel's famous, Shani line.


In 1991, Mattel introduced Shani (Swahili for "Marvelous"), a beautiful African American doll. Her launch party was a huge celebration and included press coverage entertainment by En Vogue! The reason for the celebration was Shani was touted as Barbie's first Black doll designed with the features most commonly associated with people of African descent: fuller nose and mouth; multiple shades; fuller body; textured hair; and clothing made from material made to emulate fabrics commonly found in Africa.

Mattel explained the work that went into making Shani. It included surveying African Americans and consulting well-known African American, child psychologist, Dr. Darlene Powell Hopson. In the 1980's, Dr. Powell Hopson and Sharon McNicoll, conducted an experiment with Black children in the US and in Trinidad. The experiment showed the majority of the children surveyed preferred to play with White dolls. The results of the Powell Hopson experiment were troubling because they recreated a survey taken in the late 1930's and early 1940's which also showed Black children preferred to play with White dolls during that time. Fifty years later, Black children still preferred to play with White dolls. The results of the Powell Hopson experiment were part of the reason Mattel decided to introduce Shani. The idea was by introducing a doll that celebrated African heritage, Mattel could help Black girls feel more positive about themselves.

Jill Barat, then president of Mattel toys said: "Shani is the first doll truly designed to befit the image and the positive role models that we re trying to offer little girls of African American descent."


Though Shani was originally introduced as a fashion model, the goal was to release Shani as other professions like a teacher and a scientist. Shani was introduced with her friends Asha and Nicole.


Though Mattel no longer produces the Shani line, Mattel has kept to its promise of introducing Black dolls in a variety of professions including: pilots, doctors, veterinarians, and teachers. Mattel has also introduced a number of dolls celebrate African heritage including the South African Barbie.


I found information about Shani and her release from a variety of sources. The most helpful sources included:

  • A video posted on Youtube by themasteresellers. To see the video, click here

  • A book, American School Reform: Progressive, Equity, and Excellence Movements, 1883-1993, by Maurice R. Berube.















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Modern Barbie, Mattel, Shani

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Barbie / Shani: Asha, African American Collection, Third Edition

  • Brand: Mattel
  • Product Code: MB_SAAC3
  • Availability: 1
  • $23.00

  • Ex Tax: $23.00

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Tags: Shani, Asha, Soul Train, doll, african american doll, black doll, african doll, aa doll, Mattel, Barbie, African American, Black, AA, African, NIB, retired, collectible, NRFB, new, En Vogue, En vogue, Dr. Darlene Powell Hopson, Dr. Derek Hopson, Hopson doll study, African American doll study, Black doll study, African American doll preferences, Curiositeej, Black Barbie, AA Barbie, collectible Barbie, fashion doll, fashion, Curiositeej Dolls & Collectibles

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