‘Black Barbie’ doc acquired by Netflix, Shondaland

“Black Barbie: A Documentary” is coming to Netflix. The streamer and Shondaland have acquired the film, which premiered in March at South By Southwest.

BAFTA Honours Shonda Rhimes Presented By Netflix, Delta Air Lines, And Virgin Atlantic
Shonda Rhimes will be an executive producer on the Black Barbie documentary that Netflix and her Shondaland have acquired. Above, the writer and producer was on stage in May at a BAFTA event honoring her at the Midnight Theatre in New York. (Photo credit: BAFTA)

Just as “Barbie” continues to dominate pop culture this year, Netflix and Shondaland are jumping into the conversation with this new project. From filmmaker Lagueria Davis, “Black Barbie: A Documentary” celebrates the three Black women at Mattel behind the company’s introduction of a Black Barbie in 1980.

“Through these charismatic insiders’ stories, the documentary tells the story of how the first Black Barbie came to be in 1980, examining the importance of representation and how dolls can be crucial to the formation of identity and imagination,” the film’s official logline reads.

A “work in progress” cut of the project premiered at SXSW 2023, earning rave reviews, including one from Variety which called it “a celebration and an interrogation.”

Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers join as executive producers of the project, under Shondaland’s Netflix deal. Grace Lay and Sumalee Montano for LinLay Productions, Camilla Hall for Lady & Bird Films, Milan Chakraborty, and Jyoti Sarda also executive produce.

‘Barbie’ trailer and posters feature Issa Rae, Ncuti Gatwa

In a statement along with the acquisition announcement, Davis shared her excitement regarding the home “Black Barbie: A Documentary” has found.

“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,” the statement reads. “We couldn’t have asked for better collaborators than Shondaland and Netflix to bring this story to the world.”

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