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Apparently, Yvonne Chaka Chaka Turned Down Barbie Before They Reached Out to Lira

Can’t we have both? 😭

Lira recently made history when she became the first African woman to have a Barbie doll in her likeness. Now, news has emerged that Barbie had apparently originally reached out to African music legend Yvonne Chaka Chaka, who turned the brand down twice, before they reached out to Lira.

According to reports, Chaka Chaka was not impressed with the brand’s mock-up of her doll, which allegedly looked exactly like the original Barbie, just with darker skin. ‘They showed me the doll and I told them that I’m not up for it if the said dolls will look nothing like me. This is simply because I was promised something that will look exactly like me. I respect myself that much,’ Yvonne Chaka Chaka was quoted as saying.

The brand’s second attempt reportedly still didn’t have any discernible features that looked like Chaka Chaka, which led her to turn them down again, even though she did love the idea of the collaboration. This reportedly led to communications between the singer and the brand dissolving. ‘I was much in love with the idea that Barbie can be anything, like an astronaut or musician. I did not appreciate that they wanted to use my name on what looked nothing like me,’ she said.

Barbie’s range of Role Models dolls was released in celebration of the doll’s 60th anniversary, as part of the brand’s new direction, which aims to encourage girls to dream big and see themselves as doctors, chefs, soccer players and surfers. When Chaka Chaka apparently turned them down a second time, Barbie approached Lira, who was very excited to have the doll made in her honour.

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