Shonda Rhimes' “Black Barbie” explores the creation of Mattel's first Black doll

The documentary from Netflix debuts on Juneteenth.

Representation is power in the trailer for Black Barbie, a documentary from Shondaland that explores the creation of Mattel's first Black doll.

Premiering June 19 on Netflix, the documentary from writer and director Lagueria Davis dives into the legacy of her great aunt Beulah Mae Mitchell, a Black Mattel employee who posed a question to Mattel president and Barbie creator Ruth Handler that would transform the brand: "Why don't we make a Barbie that looks like me?”

Black Barbie will tell the story of how Mattel's first Black doll came to be in the 1980s, featuring insider stories from the Black women who blazed new trails at the company and some celebrity testimonials, including from Shonda Rhimes, who executive produced. It'll also explore the dolls' impact on civil rights, Black entrepreneurship, and the shaping of children's identities.

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"If you've gone your whole life and you've never seen anything made in your own image, there is damage done," Rhimes says in the trailer, later adding, "I thought Black Barbie felt magical.”

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"Crowning this doll as Barbie was telling the world: Black is beautiful, too," adds another interviewee.

The doc comes on the heels of Greta Gerwig's 2023 summer blockbuster Barbie, an existential-tinged reimagining that featured a mix of diverse Barbies and Kens led by Margot Robbie (also a producer) and Ryan Gosling. Rhea Perlman played the role of Handler.

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Black Barbie marks the latest project from Rhimes' deal with Netflix, following the recently-released Bridgerton season 3 (which shattered viewing records) and prequel miniseries Queen Charlotte. Other Shondaland projects on the streamer include Debbie Allen doc Dance Dreams: Hot Chocolate Nutcracker and the Anna Delvey miniseries Inventing Anna.

Watch the trailer for Black Barbie above.

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