Shonda Rhimes To Produce Black Barbie Documentary; All Details Here

Shonda Rhimes executive produces a documentary about the story of Mattel's introduction of a Black Barbie doll and its cultural importance. Directed by Lagueria Davis, it will air on Netflix

Pavi Vyas
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US TV producer and writer Shonda Rhimes (Image: Reuters)

Netflix and Shondaland announced the acquisition of worldwide rights to Black Barbie helmed by Lagueria Davis, whose aunt was behind the creation of the unconventional doll.


The film tells the story of three Black women at Mattel who advocated for the creation of the first black Barbie doll in 1980, and the impact it had on the company and black girls and women worldwide.

The first black Barbie was introduced by Mattel in 1980, 31 years after it launched Barbie dolls. Telling this story of revolution will be a personal journey to Lagueria Davis of the importance of representation. 

Black Barbie Documentary Acquired By Shondaland; Soon To Air On Netflix:

After Greta Gerwig's witty take on Mattel's Barbie and its multicultural representation, there's another important documentary soon to be hitting the floors which will be depicting the history, impact, and women behind the revolutionary black Barbie dolls in 1980. 

Black Barbie premiered to critical acclaim at the 2023 SXSW Film Festival, and the acquisition by Netflix and Shondaland is a major coup for director Lagueria Davis and her team. It also signals a continued commitment from both companies to tell stories about Black women and girls and promote diversity and inclusion in the entertainment industry.


Rhimes and Betsy Beers act as executive producers on the doc, which was acquired under Shondaland’s deal with Netflix.

Grace Lay and Sumalee Montano for LinLay Productions, Camilla Hall for Lady & Bird Films, Milan Chakraborty, and Jyoti Sarda also executive produce.

Announcing the acquisition of the documentary with Netflix and Shondaland, director Lagueria Davis shared how depicting Black Barbie's story has been a personal journey for Davis, as she shared how it warms her heart to celebrate the legacy of her aunt Beulah Mae Mitchell, Stacey McBride Irby, and Kitty Black Perkins (women that advocated the black toy). 

Davis said in her statement that they couldn't have asked for a better collaboration than Shondaland and Netflix for their film as it will soon be airing worldwide on Netflix.

Black Barbie Documentary:


While Davis' personal connection to the story is the entry point to the documentary, the film chronicles the story of three Black women at Mattel who advocated for the creation of the first Black Barbie doll in 1980. It will also depict Black Barbie's cultural impact and its journey to empower black girls. 

The film will highlight the importance of representation and how dolls play a crucial role in forming identity and creating imagination. The story will also dive into the history, Mattel insiders, cultural commentators, and impact on the consumers, market and worldwide. 

The release date for Black Barbie on Netflix has not yet been announced.

Suggested Reading: My Complicated Relationship With Barbie Over The Years

Netflix Shonda Rhimes Black Barbie