In 1959, Barbie was released. Twenty-one years later, Black Barbie hit the shelves. Beulah Mae Mitchell, who worked on the Mattel assembly line, asked her boss Ruth Handler, the creator of Barbie: “Why isn’t there a doll that looks like me?” Today, her niece, filmmaker Lagueria Davis, will tell her story and explore the broader struggle for Black female representation in a world where worthy rarely means Black.
Through examining the history of Barbie, the most iconic girl toy brand of all time, Black Barbie: A Documentary will explore the double standard of femininity and beauty that Black women face. With exclusive access to Beulah Mae Mitchell, the charismatic aunt of the director, the film will take us on a personal journey through her 45-year career at Mattel working on the signature brand, and her impact on the evolving diversity displayed in today’s product line. Historically the toy industry, led predominantly by white men and women, has overlooked the significance of seeing diverse faces mirrored on our shelves, and the lengthy, uphill battles it takes to get them there. Our film will bolster the importance of representation and the necessity to incorporate more inclusive voices into the mainstream.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (June 2018)