Netizens React To Shonda Rhimes Upcoming Documentary

South Africa


Be you a millennial or Gen X African or African American woman, one of our shared experiences are memories of a childhood spent playing with a white, blonde, teenage doll.
It doesn’t matter the brand. We all wanted to be like her. Subconsciously, the experience left one with the feeling that straight silky hair, fair-complexion and being skinny was the beauty standard to attain.
Hence, African American film producer, Shonda Rhimes documentary ‘Black Barbie’ scheduled for release on Netflix on June 16, is important.

Highlighting the importance of representation and its impact, particularly for People of Colour (POC), the documentary focuses on three black women at Mattel (creators of the Barbie doll) and their pivotal roles in creating a doll that looked like them.

While there was one or two black dolls in existence before 1980 (Barbie’s cousin and first black friend Christie was introduced around 1968), it took Kitty Black Perkins’ creation of a black Barbie doll for the globally influential brand, for young black girls to truly feel represented. Perkins black Barbie stylishly rocked an Afrocurl, attired in a tomato-red wrap dress accessorized by a gold costume necklace and red drop ear rings.

Commenting on the documentary trailer released on YouTube, Netizens reminisced on black Barbie and its significance.

“I’m so embarrassed to say when I was younger, my mom bought me a black baby doll, and I didn’t like it because none of my friends had it. It wasn’t advertised on TV or magazines and it just wasn’t there. It wasn’t that she was black, it just wasn’t sold in the same way as white dolls are. As a black woman, I was ashamed of that but give myself grace because when you are in an environment of little to no representation, especially as a child, it’s a confusing time. I’m grateful my nieces have a different experience and appreciate it more,” @nileyfan1998

“My Golden Dream Christie doll brings back wonderful memories. She was beautiful,” @stephaniecolecleckley

“@PlannedObsolescence Actually Christie was introduced as one of Barbie’s friends, so she was with the Barbie brand. I think you are thinking of ‘Coloured Francine’ which was a spinoff doll of the Francine dolls Mattel was also making in the 60s that was supposed to be a cousin to Barbie. It didn’t last long,” @Nightscream452

Others believe the documentary is a ‘woke’ spin.

“Mattel: Doesn’t make an action figure of an introvert who goes to work at 9am and comes home at 9pm everyday without socializing with anyone. Me: There is damage done,” @GlassesnMouthplates
“Netflix never ceases to surprise me with its original ideas.”

““If you’ve gone your whole life and never seen anything made in your own image …” honestly, WTF,” @MaxOranges777.

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