A documentary about Black female representation through the history of Barbie.
The first Black Barbie came out twenty years after Barbie was first released. Through extensive access to Beulah Mae, a charismatic Mattel insider, we learn about the struggle for representation in a world where beauty rarely meant Black.
This film is a definitive history of Black dolls, told through the charismatic protagonist, Beulah Mae Mitchell, the filmmakers’ aunt, who helped introduce the first Black Barbie. The film charts what it felt like to grow up with no representation and why it was so important to have a Black Barbie counterpart. In 1980, upon the release of Black Barbie, the film explores what that meant and the impact it had on Generation X. As a litmus test, the film will reimagine the doll test of the 1940’s to see how increased representation could impact future generations. This all started with a simple question, “why not make a Barbie that looks like me?” The message: be the person in the room that asks the question, you never know the difference it could make.
BLACK BARBIE: A DOCUMENTARY is part of a broader movement to increase understanding of the importance of representation for Black women. As is too often overlooked, because they belong to two minority groups, Black Women tend to fall through the cracks in arguments and studies about representation. To address this problem, many Black female cultural producers like me are leveraging as much power as we can to create change, both on screens and elsewhere in the world of media and representation.
Meet the Team
Lagueria Davis graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2007 with a BFA in Media Art. Since graduating, Davis has established herself as an award-winning filmmaker.
MAID OF DISHONOR a feature she co-wrote was a 2016 Nicholls Fellowship Quarter-Finalist and was a quarter finalist in the 2015 WeScreenplay Competitions. In addition, in 2013 THIS IS NOT A LOVE STORY, a feature script and in 2016 LIGHT IN DARK PLACES a short script placed in the Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition.
In her spare time, Davis moonlights as a Line Producer for commercials, branded content, shorts, and feature films. Currently, Davis resides in LA where she’s on the board of the Alliance of Women Directors.
Camilla Hall’s first feature documentary, COPWATCH, was nominated for Best Documentary at Tribeca in April 2017. She produced feature documentary CIRCUS OF BOOKS, which premieres at Tribeca in April 2019. She produced FREEDOM FOR THE WOLF, which studied freedom struggles around the world. The film premiered at Sheffield Doc Fest, and screened at IDFA, won the Slamdance audience award and went on to show at over 40 festivals around the world. It was nominated for the Cinema for Peace Foundation award the Berlinale in 2019. Prior to documentary, she was the US Banking Correspondent for the Financial Times and Middle East Correspondent, prior to that. She won one of the UK’s top journalism prizes for her investigative work on Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund.
Jyoti Sarda is the founder of Nimble Media, a consulting firm focused on start-up opportunities within the convergence of digital entertainment content and technology. Recently, Jyoti served as VP of Marketing at Paramount Home Media leading all facets of global marketing operations for Paramount partner brands including Dreamworks, Marvel, Lucasfilm, CBS, Showtime, MTV & Nickelodeon while overseeing international marketing of Paramount’s film catalog and acquisitions. Prior to Paramount, Jyoti worked at Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment, spearheading the international new releases of high profile franchises (Avatar, X-Men) and specialty titles from Fox Searchlight. She also managed the domestic TV DVD group during the heyday of 24, The Simpsons, and Family Guy.
April Reign is the Creator of the #OscarsSoWhite social impact campaign to change the face of Hollywood. Reign sustains a movement that has resulted in the most systemic change ever seen in the over 80-year history of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. She practiced law for nearly twenty years, honing her talent for public speaking and persuasive writing, but it wasn’t until she walked away from her legal practice that she found her true passion. April is now the Senior Director of Marketing for Fractured Atlas, a nonprofit arts service organization that leverages technology to make the business of art easier for artists and small arts organizations. Reign leads the marketing and branding of Fractured Atlas’ products and services while partnering with the engineering team on product development.
We are excited to announce the 2019 Cucalorus Works in Progress Lab, a week long residency that supports the audience engagement and distribution strategies of social issue documentaries being made by Black filmmakers. This year’s featured films include: Black Barbie:...
The HSDFF Filmmaker Retreat is designed to help foster discussion, collaboration, and encouragement through a series of intimate, closed-door sessions with notable and inspiring mentors from different aspects of the field. This is an incredible opportunity for artists...
The Logan Nonfiction Program believes that an informed, educated and engaged citizenry is essential to the functioning of democratic society. The Logan Nonfiction Program offers two fellowship classes per year—one in the fall (October-December) and one in the spring...
UK-based Breaking Through The Lens has short-listed Black Barbie as a potential film to be featured at their 2019 Pitch Forum at the Cannes Film Festival. 'Breaking Through The Lens' curates a small selection of the highest-quality feature films directed by women,...
BAVC is thrilled to announce the multiplatform documentary makers and projects that will receive the 2019 MediaMaker Fellowship award. A full list of recipients is below. The 2019 MediaMaker Fellows are: Brenda Avila-Hanna, Libertad (Santa Cruz, CA); Brittany Shyne,...
On Feb 20, Screencraft announced the finalists for their Film Fund Grant. Grant amounts will vary from $10,000 to $30,000 depending on the scale and merit of each project. This program includes creative development from the ScreenCraft team and production guidance and...
The International Documentary Association has chosen Black Barbie: A Documentary as their Documentary of the Week. They are promoting our film on the home page of the website and accepting donations for the film. We are humbled by this recognition by the IDA and will...
On September 21, Lagueria Davis and Beulah Mae Mitchell stepped onto the stage of STORY for a Q&A about Black Barbie: A Documentary. The sizzle reel for the doc was screened here for the first time publicly, and Lagueria and Beulah Mae recieved a standing ovation...
The week of June 25, 20018, Awesome Without Borders awarded Black Barbie: A Documentary a grant to help finance their sizzle reel. Read all about it here. The Awesome Foundation distributes a series of monthly $1,000 grants to projects and their creators. The money is...
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