Christie. 1968. Barbie’s first African American friend. Christie was part of the first group of talking Barbie dolls introduced in 1968, and was soon followed by Twist ‘n’ Turn Christie. Both dolls featured more ethnic features, brown coloured eyes and a short afro hair-do that often oxidised over time to a vibrant red.
Interestingly a black version of Barbie’s cousin, Francie, was introduced in 1967. Known as ‘Black Francie’, Barbie had an AA cousin before she had an AA friend. This doll is now highly sought after by collectors due to its limited release.
Christie was reincarnated in 1969 as ‘Julia’ a sassy, shorter haired version of the doll modelled after the Diahann Carroll TV show character of the same name. Julia was a widowed, single mother and a nurse. Very progressive themes in a very conservative era, that usually only depicted AA characters on television as servants.
Christie kept pace with Barbie over the years, adopting many of Barbie’s popular incarnations including; Malibu Christie, Superstar Christie, Fashion Photo Christie, Magic Moves Christie, Pivotal Mod Christie and one of my all time favourites – Live Action Christie!
Live Action Christie featured long silky hair, rooted lashes and orange coloured eyes that matched her psychedelic threads. She had a live action body that meant she could do the twist, wahtusi, frug and I am sure mash potato if she really wanted to. Live Action Christie embodied everything that was carefree and cool.