Fashioning Black Barbies, Princesses, and Sexual Exppresion for Black Girls: The Multivisuality of Nicki Minaj

Aria S Halliday, Purdue University


This project interrogates Black women’s role in three sites of Black girlhood in popular culture—Barbies, princesses, and Nicki Minaj—to understand the way society visualizes Black girlhood. I consider how Black women’s roles in Mattel’s history of Black Barbie dolls and Disney’s Black Cinderella narratives influence Nicki Minaj’s compilation of these visuals to create symbolic narratives of Black femininity for Black girls. As a result, this study will provide insight into the overlapping referents and signifiers that fortify U.S. narratives of Black girlhood and ways that Nicki Minaj illustrates recognition, appropriation, and rejection of these narratives. I argue that Minaj’s use of these visuals provide opportunities for Black girls to influence the future of Black girlhood. All visual material is included as an appendix on the website:




McMullen, Purdue University.

Subject Area

African American Studies|American studies|Womens studies

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