When George Floyd was killed last May, people all over the world held Black Lives Matter marches for weeks to fight for him and all the other Black people who were victims of police brutality. Everyone was talking about it, which meant people expected brands to speak up too.
Unsurprisingly, many were silent. And many of those who did speak up either gave vague sentiments or template statements. So, when corporations get real about what exactly the movement is about and take a deliberate stance against racism, people still get surprised because of how rare that is.
That’s exactly why Barbie’s latest vlog went viral over the weekend.
The Barbie channel has a series of “vlogs” where she directly addresses the viewers. She does challenges with guests, beauty tutorials, and other content that YouTubers in the real world make. Her latest vlog, however, tackled something a lot more serious: racism.
In the vlog, she and her friend Nikki talk about the racism that Black people face every day. They open by talking about the Black Lives Matter protests and why the movement is so important. “This stuff isn’t easy to talk about,” Barbie said, “which is why we have to talk about it.”
They didn’t beat around the bush either. Barbie and Nikki didn’t just give vague statements about being kind to all people or how differences aren’t bad. They acknowledge that this movement is about people being treated unfairly specifically because of their skin color. “People may think that my life looks fine, but the truth is I and so many other Black people have to deal with racism. All the time,” Nikki said.
Then, Nikki talked about her experiences of being discriminated as a Black woman while Barbie listened without interrupting. After telling the stories, Nikki said, “People did these things to me because I was Black, and they made the wrong assumptions about me.”
“And they don’t make those assumptions about white people like me,” Barbie added.
They ended the vlog emphasizing why this problem is exactly why people are marching, and that it’s important to listen to Black people and learn more about Black history to be a proper ally.
Many are praising the video because of how straightforward this discussion of racism and white privilege was. Without sugarcoating, the vlog perfectly explained the situation in a way that even non-Black kids can understand and learn from.
While this is Barbie’s first explicitly political video, those familiar with the channel also recommended watching the other Barbie vlogs that tackle important topics, like validating your feelings of depression or the way women constantly feel the need to apologize when they don’t need to.
So, if Barbie, a brand that centers on a fictional white character that is being sold as a doll and started as a shallow image of what women should look like, can evolve and speak up on important matters, including politics, what’s stopping everyone else?