*It’s a bird, it’s plane, no its a super doll who was just the first Japanese player to win a Grand Slam in a singles match ever and she just happens to be Black. It’s Naomi Osaka and (ahead of the upcoming Tokyo Olympics) Mattel has launched its Black Label, Barbie Role Model doll and, by the way, it sports gear that Osaka wore at the 2020 Australian Open.
After returning to the throne (she dropped out of the French Open and Wimbledon recently, reportedly to recharge with loved ones and to support her mental health) a calm and gracious Osaka stood before peers and fans at the 2021 ESPY Awards and said:
“Thank you ESPN, thank you all the supporters, thank you to my fans… I really love you guys and this is my first ESPYS so it’s really cool to be surrounded by all of these incredible athletes. I think all of you guys are really cool and I watch some of you all on TV so its surreal to be here.”
And according a Mattel release as first told at Black Enterprise … to the Barbie doll tribute, Osaka said:
“It’s such an honor to be a part of the Barbie Role Model series, and to remind young girls that they can make a difference in the world. I want young girls everywhere to feel empowered to dream big and to know that if they believe in themselves that anything is possible!” 23-year-old Osaka said.
MORE NEWS ON EURWEB: Weekend Watch: ‘Space Jam’ and ‘Escape Room’ – VIDEO
So just what’s it mean to sparkle among celebratory “real-life role models?”
The Barbie Role Model dolls are the likeness of “remarkable women who are breaking boundaries and inspiring the next generation,” the Mattel release said.
And since Osaka (the world’s highest-paid female athlete; who in 2020 made more than $55 million in prize money and endorsements according to Variety magazine) is ranked the no. 2 tennis player by the Women’s Tennis Association, the tennis star fits the bill nicely. Not to mention, she just got an ESPY for Best Female Athlete at the 2021 ESPYS Awards last Saturday.
And this is what SVP and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls at Mattel, Lisa McKnight said of Osaka:
“We are incredibly honored to spotlight Naomi Osaka as part of our Barbie Role Model series. She has paved the way for future generations of girls to dream bigger, and through her unwavering courage and honesty, shown the world the importance of being your own biggest champion. Naomi continues to break boundaries on and off the court and is a powerful role model to fans everywhere,” said Lisa McKnight, SVP and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls at Mattel.