Netflix drops trailer to Shonda Rhimes documentary about the first Black Barbie


The story of the world’s first Black Barbie is coming to streaming, thanks to Shonda Rhimes and her Shondaland production empire.

Netflix just released the trailer for Black Barbie, teasing the award-winning film that takes an in-depth look at the conception, inspiration and people behind the creation of the first standalone Black Barbie doll which hit stores in 1980.

Prior to this, generations of little girls of color couldn’t see themselves on toy shelves, Shonda says in the clip’s open. “If you’ve gone your whole life and never seen anything made in your image, there is damage done,” she expresses.

Later in the trailer, Gabourey Sidibe says with a laugh, “I just found Barbie to be a little light-skinned.”

Beulah Mae Mitchell, who worked at one Mattel factory that made the dolls, explains she spoke with Barbie creator Ruth Handler at one point. “She would say, ‘Do you have any suggestions?"” Mitchell recalled. “I was able to say, ‘We want a Black Barbie."”

“I designed Black Barbie to reflect the total look of a Black woman,” comments Kitty Black Perkins, the doll’s designer.”

The trailer also shows a Black girl playing with a Black Barbie doll as she describes it, saying, “Really pretty. It has locks, just like me,” while holding her own hair.

“More than just a doll. Black Barbie celebrates the momentous impact three Black women at Mattel had on the evolution of the Barbie brand as we know it,” Netflix teases.

“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 description continued.

Netflix debuts the doc June 19.

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