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Shondaland And Netflix Acquire Rights To ‘Black Barbie’ Documentary

A “Black Barbie” documentary is on the way now that Shondaland and Netflix have acquired worldwide rights to the Lagueria Davis-directed film.

Unveiled at SXSW earlier this year, Davis’ “Black Barbie” documentary delves into the history of the first Black Barbie doll dating back to its 1980 debut, Variety reports. After receiving widespread acclaim during its premiere, Shonda Rhimes signed on to the team of executive producers as part of her overall deal with Netflix.

“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,” Davis said of the acquisition.

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

The film shares Davis’ personal tie-in to the Black Barbie along with stories of Mattel from insiders, consumers, cultural commentators, and historians. Following Black Barbie’s journey and cultural impact, the film highlights “the importance of representation and how dolls can be crucial to the formation of identity and imagination,” according to the logline.

The “Black Barbie” documentary comes just on the heels of the “Barbie” live-action movie’s $1.4 billion box office success. The blockbuster is still raking big screen bucks as Shondaland prepares to expand on the multicultural diversity that was visible throughout the film.

Davis was applauded for her unique approach to tackling the topic of inclusivity in her “Black Barbie” documentary.

“With its deeply amusing re-creations of actual Barbie dolls sauntering into white spaces or sitting at the end of a conference room table (the only BIDOC — Black, indigenous doll of color, so to speak), the movie can be wryly playful. … But there is pain, here, too,” movie critic Lisa Kennedy said of the film.

Davis wrote and directed the film for Lovely Day Films alongside Aaliyah Williams for Just A Rebel. Along with Rhimes and Beers as executive producers, others include Grace Lay of LinLay Productions and Sumalee Montano; Camilla Hall of Lady & Bird Films, Milan Chakraborty, and Jyoti Sarda.

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