I am not the biggest of movie goers. I will go, but very rarely have time to sit for two to three hours watching a movie. It is just easier to wait for it to come out on other media outlets where I can see it on my own time.
There is a movie that I want to see as soon as possible. It might surprise you of my choice. It is not, “Oppenheimer.” I hope to see it eventually. The one I want to see immediately is the movie, “Barbie.”
It’s not for the reason you might think. It is more about the co-founder of Mattel toys that made the Barbie doll. Ben Cohen, the writer of the “Science of Success” calls her “The J. Robert Oppenheimer of Barbie. She was Ruth Handler, a workaholic entrepreneur with red lipstick and a pink Thunderbird convertible. She was a groundbreaking figure worthy of a biopic of her own. As men were testing atomic bombs in the desert, this woman was starting her own company in a garage. And the most popular doll in history wasn’t even her most valuable ideal.”
Ruth Marianna Mosko, (her birth name) was born on Nov. 4, 1916, in Denver, Colorado, to her parents, Jacob and Ida Mosko. Her life seems normal as she married her high school boyfriend, Elliot Handler, in 1938. Elliot opened a garage workshop with his friend, Harold “Matt” Matson, in 1945. They named their business “Mattel” which is a combination of both of their names. As the story goes Matson sold his share of the start-up company, and that’s when Elliots’s wife, Ruth, stepped in.
Ruth, who died April 27, 2002, became an American inventor who created the unique world-renowned doll we all call Barbie in 1959. It is said that the doll was really named after the Handler’s daughter, Barbara. he Ken doll is said to be named after their son, who came out two years after Barbie. Ruth said she saw her daughter and friends playing with paper dolls. They would make believe them going to college, being cheerleaders, or some type of adult career. She noticed that all of the children’s dolls were normally babies, but never grew up. She remembers seeing a doll of a young girl on a family trip to Switzerland, but it was not made for kids. It was an adult collector’s item only.
Ruth created a story to go with this special doll. Did you know she had a story? Her full name at first was Barbie Millicent Roberts and she was from Willows, Wisconsin. She was a teenage fashion model. Now as the years have gone by since 1959 when she was first introduced, she has had 125 career versions, several races, colors, and cultures.
Everybody does not love Barbie for different reasons. One reason is because of her body type. Ben Cohen went on to say, “Handler broke the rules of business in three ways: how she sold toys, when she sold them, and who bought them.
She realized before anybody in her industry that parents weren’t her target demographic. Children were. She also spent to advertise on television shows all year round – and that strategy turned out to be revolutionary.” She was not perfect, but she was revolutionary.
Sha ‘Carri Richardson won the women’s 100-meter world title this month. She is the first American woman to do so since the late Tori Bowie won the gold in 2017. American Noah Lyles also won the 100-meter world championship in the same month. In the race that she ended up winning, Richardson was in lane number 9. I don’t know enough about track to make any powerful comment, but I do know that is not the lane of choice, and usually if you are in that lane, your times put you there.
What she is most famous for is when she made world wide news in 2021 when she was taken out of the races for testing positive for marijuana at the U.S. Olympic trials. It is my understanding that she had some loss in her life, some emotional challenges, and she did something at the wrong time that could have changed her life in a negative way. There may be other challenges in her life as well, but the thing I would like to zoom in on was she did not quit. She was not perfect, but she kept trying. She said on that day, “I’m not back, I’m better.”
This summer, President Biden signed a proclamation that will help create a national monument for Emmett Till and his mother. Emmett Till was the Black teenager in 1955 who was lynched and helped bring to light the need for the March on Washington. The March was key to the Civil Rights Movement and the place where Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. gave his “I Have A Dream Speech.”
President Biden said at that occasion, “At a time when there are those who seek to ban books, bury history, we are making it clear — crystal, crystal clear. While darkness and denialism can hide much, they erase nothing.”
The March on Washington was August 28, 1963. This year is the 60th Anniversary. America is not perfect, but it is revolutionary. We are not just back; it is my prayer, we are better!
I am off to the movies with my wife. Aug. 28 is her birthday, too.
The Rev. Darrell W. Cummings is pastor of Bethlehem Apostolic Temple in Wheeling and Shiloh Apostolic Temple in Weirton.