Netflix and Shondaland have acquired worldwide rights to “Black Barbie,” a documentary that delves into the history of the first Black Barbie doll, which debuted in 1980, 31 years after the original Barbie. Three Black women at Mattel who advocated for the toy are also highlighted in the film.
“Telling Black Barbie’s story has been such a personal journey and it warms my heart to celebrate the legacy of my aunt Beulah Mae Mitchell, Kitty Black Perkins and Stacey McBride Irby in our film,” Director by Lagueria Davis said in a statement announcing the acquisition. “We couldn’t have asked for better collaborators than Shondaland and Netflix to bring this story to the world.”
Directed by Lagueria Davis, “Black Barbie” premiered at this year’s SXSW, receiving widespread acclaim for its “work-in-progress” cut. Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers have joined as executive producers as part of Shondaland’s overall deal with Netflix.
Davis’s personal connection to the subject matter serves as the documentary’s entry point, tracing the journey and cultural impact of the Black Barbie. The film explores “the importance of representation and how dolls can be crucial to the formation of identity and imagination” through the perspectives of Mattel insiders, consumers, cultural commentators, and historians.
This documentary coincides with the Barbie boom, spurred by the success of Greta Gerwig and Margot Robbie’s live-action movie. While the blockbuster movie featured a diverse cast, it acknowledges that Barbie is not universally loved. Davis herself even states, “I hate dolls,” early in “Black Barbie.”
The documentary offers a blend of humor and introspection, with re-creations of Barbie dolls in various scenarios, highlighting the brand’s relationship with diversity and inclusion, reflecting broader societal issues.
Writer-director Lagueria Davis produced the film for Lovely Day Films, with Aaliyah Williams from Just A Rebel also contributing. Executive producers include Grace Lay and Sumalee Montano from LinLay Productions, Camilla Hall from Lady & Bird Films, Milan Chakraborty, and Jyoti Sarda.
This documentary could be of interest to your followers on your TV and film media website, especially if you focus on celebrating diversity and the history of Black representation in Hollywood.