Shondaland and Netflix have acquired the worldwide rights to Black Barbie: A Documentary.
Directed by Lagueria Davis, the acquisition comes as part of Shonda Rhimes and Betsy Beers’ overall deal with Netflix. Both Rhimes and Beers will executive produce the documentary.
Black Barbie will explore the untold tales of three Black women who impacted Mattel’s Barbie brand, as well as the origins of the first Black Barbie.
“Black Barbie celebrates the momentous impact three Black women at Mattel had on the evolution of the Barbie brand as we know it,” the logline reads. “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.”
Grace Lay and Sumalee Montano produce alongside Beers and Rhimes for LinLay Productions. Camilla Hall for Lady & Bird Films, Milan Chakraborty, and Jyoti Sarda also executive produce. Aaliyah Williams produces under her banner Just A Rebel, while Davis will produce under Lovely Day Films.
“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,” Lagueria Davis said in a statement. We couldn’t have asked for better collaborators than Shondaland and Netflix to bring this story to the world.”
The film first screened as a work in progress at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival.