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Barbie just got hit with a dose of Hollywood awesomeness, and her name is Ava DuVernay.

The doll manufacturer put the doll into mass production in response to demand.

In April, Mattel announced plans to create Barbie dolls modeled after six inspirational women.

The women they honored have done great work in the entertainment, media, and fashion industries: country artist Trisha Yearwood, fashion designer Sydney "Mayhem" Keiser, actresses Emmy Rossum and Kristin Chenoweth, Lucky Editor-in-Chief Eva Chen, and director Ava DuVernay.


The plan was to make a single doll for each woman on the "Sheroes" line. Then Mattel took it a step further.

The initial idea was simple (and great): make one doll for each "Shero," auction them off, and let the women behind the dolls' likenesses decide which charity the proceeds would go to.


But over the weekend, Mattel announced it would be mass-producing at least one of the dolls — Ava DuVernay's. All proceeds from sales of the "Selma" director's Barbie will be going to charities Color of Change and Witness.


But perhaps the coolest thing about the announcement of DuVernay's Barbie was the response from her fans.

Monday morning, people excitedly awaited details on how they could purchase one of the Ava Barbies. Some wanted one to give to their sons, daughters, nieces, or nephews; others just wanted to buy one for themselves (and hey, who says adults can't have dolls, anyway?).


For all the positivity Barbie has brought to the world, two of the near-constant critiques have been the lack of diversity in the line and the promotion of unrealistic beauty standards. This doll addresses at least one of those problems, expanding the universe of possibilities for the Barbie-faithful of the world.


Actress Parisa Fitz-Henley, most recently seen as Reva on Netflix's "Jessica Jones," shared her excitement over the new possibilities and inspirations others will be able to draw from a powerful figure like DuVernay being represented in a beloved, universally known toy.


It seems like the people at Barbie are really upping their game.

As mentioned above, the company hasn't had a perfect track record when it comes to things like representation and body image. The good news is that it seems they're making some steps in the right direction.

DuVernay was the first black woman to be nominated for the Oscar for best director. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

"Started by a female entrepreneur and mother, this brand has a responsibility to continue to honor and encourage powerful female role models who are leaving a legacy for the next generation of glass ceiling breakers," Barbie General Manager Evelyn Mazzocco said in an April press release about the "Sheroes" line.

In addition to the DuVernay doll, Mattel recently made a Zendaya doll — though it doesn't seem to be going into mass production. Mattel also made news when it released an ad that included *gasp* a boy, helping bust some gender stereotypes.

Here's hoping the company keeps up the renewed commitment to inclusivity.

Photo courtesy of Girls at Work

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Girls are bombarded with messages from a very young age telling them that they can’t, that is too big, this is too heavy, those are too much.

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via Lewis Speaks Sr. / Facebook

This article originally appeared on 02.25.21


Middle school has to be the most insecure time in a person's life. Kids in their early teens are incredibly cruel and will make fun of each other for not having the right shoes, listening to the right music, or having the right hairstyle.

As if the social pressure wasn't enough, a child that age has to deal with the intensely awkward psychological and biological changes of puberty at the same time.

Jason Smith, the principal of Stonybrook Intermediate and Middle School in Warren Township, Indiana, had a young student sent to his office recently, and his ability to understand his feelings made all the difference.

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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

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Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

Lost seal turns himself into police station.

Animals can be just as cheeky as toddlers and their cheeky actions usually result in unexpected sass and raised eyebrows. A town in Massachusetts became the temporary home to a grey seal that the citizens nicknamed "Shoebert" after he was found in Shoe Pond in Beverly. If you're wondering how a seal wound up in the pond, you're not the only one. No one knows exactly how the savvy seal made his way to the pond but he hung out there for a few days somehow evading efforts to catch him so he could be relocated.

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Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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