|Barbie, Bling and Bleeps|
I like the bold new world of social media. I really do enjoy “talking” to people I’ve never met, and most likely will never meet. It’s liberating to strike up conversational threads with people who live across the country and even on the other side of the world.
One thing I really like about both Twitter and Facebook is how these sites try to play matchmaker. Like an overly concerned grandma who just can’t keep quiet, or a big sister who fancies herself a shrewd judge of character, both these cyber spheres are always trying to introduce me to new friends and followers.
What’s most eye-opening isn’t how wrong they frequently are with their suggestions, but rather how much I’ve learned from their acquaintanceship offers. For instance, after the word “doll” has popped up a lot in my profiles, status updates, and tweets, I’ve been matched with doll artists, collectors, groups and organizations. Perfectly sensible, and perfectly fine by me.
My next introductions based on “doll” is what got me chuckling and investigating. It was suggested that I should get to know Nicki Minaj. Well, if you’re like me, you could most likely go your whole life without ever crossing paths with Ms. Minaj. But I like to find out new things, and so I visited her sites and her different networking accounts. Here’s what I’ve learned, and let me warn you: Miss Nicki is definitely not your mother’s "Barbie" doll. She comes with a Parental Advisory warning.
Born either in Queens, New York or in Trinidad (there’s a lot of mythology around this young lady), Nicki Minaj is a rapper and a hip-hop entrepreneur. She’s small, sassy, very sexy and extremely candid (despite all her fables and fabrications). She’s graphic in her lyrics, cusses up a storm like the big boys and is one of the most requested performers in clubs, on urban radio stations and at college campuses.
It’s always bizarre—isn’t it?—when you realize there’s a whole world and culture circling your own little, safe bubble. Now, what does this Indian-Trinidadian rapper have to do with a doll? She is the face and body of the “black Barbie movement.”
Yes, this does exist, and it’s actually caused a rivalry and a rift in the rap music scene. It hasn’t elevated to the level of drive-by shootings and gangster throw-downs, but harsh words have been bandied about! Nicki proclaims to be the poster girl of all things sensual, petite and too-too glamorous. However, Lil’ Kim begs to differ. And that’s where the catfight begins.
This is a strange concept seeing two women who brag about acts of gang violence, indiscriminate hooking-up, material consumerism to the nth degree, all worked up over Barbie. But when you both want to be the superstar, there is no happy medium. No one will gracefully bow out and accept the second prize of being "Midge" or the booby prize of being "Skooter."
Since I don’t have a kitten in this fight, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Nicki Minaj is the Barbiest of the battling Barbies. I read about her and she tells plaintive tales of being a young girl in a home filled with domestic tension and turmoil. She used to escape from the noise and the violence by writing poetry, drawing pictures and pretending to be other people. One of these alter egos was called “Harajuku Barbie.”
The music that is making this 25-year-old into a multimillionaire can’t be played on family-friendly radio, and any televised appearance is going to feature lots of beeps and bleeps. But when you read any quotes from her in magazine articles—in between the four-letter expletives—there is a real sense that she emerged from a damaged place and willed herself into this flashy, bodacious, alternately coy and domineering character.
Is Nicki a black Barbie? Will Mattel ever make a Barbie out of her? (I don’t want to hold my breath waiting.) One of the Tweets I read from a Minaj admirer warned her to “drop this Barbie BS be4 Mattel slaps yo ass with an injunction.” Wiser words might never have been tweeted.
Who knows what awaits this woman in her future life? All I know is that a Barbie doll kept her safe and sane in her past. And for that, she and her millions of followers are extremely grateful.
Called in to add some “street cred” to the “Up Out My Face” lyric, Nicki Minaj (top right) supposedly stole the limelight away from the older, more mainstream Mariah Carey (top left). In the video shot for their collaboration, the two divas—both known for their doll-collecting real-life ways—played the role of haute couture fashion dolls.
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The Jones Publishing Lifetime Achievement Award is bestowed upon one recipient per year. This award was created in 2002 in conjunction with the 100th anniversary of the introduction of the teddy bear, with the first recipient being Steiff, a German-based plush toy company known for its high quality and prices.
The Lifetime Achievement recipient must be or have been involved in some aspect of the doll and/or teddy bear field for a minimum of 25 years. The recipient may be an individual, partnership, corporation, company, author, artist, marketer, historian or any other industry professional. Lifetime Achievement Award nominations may be made by previous recipients or members of the LAA committee.
To qualify as a nominee, entrants must meet the following criteria:
The Lifetime Achievement Award has been presented to the following individuals and companies since its inception:
2003 Hildegard Gunzel
2004 Alexander Doll Company
2005 R. John Wright
2006 Wendy Lawton
2007 Virginia Turner
2008 Toy Shoppe
2009 no award presented
2010 Helen Kish
2011 no award presented
2012 Maggie Iacono
2013 Heidi Plusczok
2014 Jack Johnston
August 8, 2014 - Blackall Associates Inc. is proud to announce the winner of its Summer Heat Photo Contest. The contest drew entries from around the world. Masterpiece Doll collectors sent in a special photo showing how their Masterpiece Dolls were enjoying the summer heat.
You haven’t seen a toy show until you’ve seen this one. Six buildings! Over six hundred exhibitors! Exclusively toys and dolls and children’s playthings on display everywhere! This is the show everyone always says they intend to visit, and now is the time to do just that. Collectors say the Chicago Toy Show really is the largest in the entire world. They are correct. Collectors say they find toys at this show that are never seen anywhere else. Correct again.
19 April 2014 – 5 October 2014
A special exhibition will take place at the Toy Worlds Museum Basle to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Japanese-Swiss diplomacy and friendship.