The “Everybody Loves Barbie Pink Carpet Gala and Weekend of Giving,” a fundraiser for local groups that aims to make a difference in children’s lives, is Friday and Saturday in Kenner.
Author Havilah Malone and local radio personality Jeff Crouere will co-host the events.
The Pink Carpet Gala is from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Friday at the Crowne Plaza New Orleans Airport Hotel, 2829 Williams Blvd., Kenner. Four local residents — Sally-Ann Roberts, of WWL television; Peggy Scott Laborde, of WYES; the Rev. Patricia Watson, director of the Family Center of Hope; and longtime dance teacher Debbie Dillehay will be honored for working with and mentoring kids.
An auction at Friday’s gala will feature dozens of prizes, including Barbie dolls with an estimated value of more than $50,000 and acting lessons from Denzel Washington.
Malone’s collection of 300 vintage Barbie dolls will be auctioned throughout the night.
The first Barbie doll was displayed at the American Toy Fair in New York City in 1959, and the public has been fascinated ever since. Every three seconds, a Barbie is sold somewhere in the world.
“I can remember growing up being taught that silence is golden,” Watson said. “As we hide behind the beautiful clothes, the beautiful attire, the makeup and all, there is usually something deeper on the inside that’s bothering us that quite often we don’t talk about.”
She called Everybody Loves Barbie a movement toward self-empowerment.
“I believe the launching of this movement is an excellent one. It’s time to see the essence of the real woman take her place in our society,” she said.
For a young Malone, collecting Barbie dolls proved to be self-empowering. It took her away from a difficult world, and she hopes to do the same for girls facing lives of abuse.
“For nearly 20 years, I suffered in silence from my experience of being molested as a child. I had very low self-worth, Malone said. “I started collecting Barbies because they gave me a glimpse into a world I wanted, one full of confidence and possibility.
“Through my personal journey of development, I have been able to break out of my box of silence and now help others do the same. It’s about taking our power back and living life on our terms.”
Tickets for Friday’s gala are $75 per person, and sponsorships are still available.
Also, a community service project is planned from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday beginning at LaSalle’s Landing, Kenner’s Veterans Park, 1801 Williams Blvd., the Mississippi River and continuing into Rivertown. The cleanup features Miss Louisiana, a disc jockey, and drinks and snacks.
Proceeds from the weekend will benefit the North Rampart Community Center, Ms. Hillary’s Kids, Back 2 Basics Sports Foundation and the Napoleon Hill Foundation.
For tickets and more information, visit www.everybodylovesbarbie.com or call (504) 782-5633.