Shondaland Doc Details Creation of Dolls

The trailer for Shondaland’s Black Barbie details the creation of the influential dolls, featuring interviews with the women who brought them to Mattel and others.

“If you go through life, and you’ve never seen anything made in your own image, there is damage done,” executive producer Shonda Rhimes says as she opens the trailer, later adding, “I thought Black Barbie felt magical.”

According to Netflix, Black Barbie celebrates the Black women at Mattel who had a massive impact on the evolution of the Barbie brand as it is today.

“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 logline reads.

Kitty Black Perkins, the designer of Black Barbie, says in the two-minute look at the upcoming documentary: “I designed Black Barbie to reflect the total look of a Black woman.”

Lagueria Davis directs Black Barbie, inspired by the story of her great aunt Beulah Mae Mitchell, who worked at Mattel and was brave enough to ask its co-founder Ruth Handler about making a doll that looked like her.

The doc details the history of Black dolls, their impact on civil rights and Black entrepreneurship, and the significant role of imaginative play in shaping children’s identity, according to its synopsis. It also shines a light on the women who felt seen by the dolls being made in their image.

Black Barbie hits Netflix on Juneteenth, aka June 19.

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