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Loft Film Fest Movie Review: Black Barbie A Documentary

Black Barbie: A Documentary

Directed By: Lagueria Davis

Streaming Service: Set to be released on Netflix. It can be seen in the Loft Cinema on Wednesday, October 18th at 2:00

Release Date: N/A

Rating: PG

Description: A comprehensive history on the production of the Black Barbie.

Reviewer Name: Lamley Andrews

Date of Review: 10-17-23

This review is of one movie of the many movies being showcased at the Tucson Loft Cinema Film Fest which is going from October 11th to October 19th. If you would like to see these films for yourself (which I think you totally should) you can purchase tickets at: Everyone involved has worked really hard to put this event together, so your support is greatly appreciated.

I’ll be honest, I am still not really over the Barbie bonanza from earlier this year. I love the pink, the glitz and glamor of it all. Most importantly I love the sense of empowerment and creativity it instilled within women across the globe. As much as I loved the wave, I felt like the movement left me out. That gap was quickly filled by Black Barbie: A Documentary.

The Black Barbie documentary is just that – a documentary. It’s a really comprehensive look into the history of the creation of the Black Barbie and the legacy it left on society. I found this movie to be really interesting. The history behind Black Barbie is a lot more intensive than I originally thought it would be. Learning about the Black female icons behind the foundation of Black Barbie like Kitty Perkins, Monica Bailey, Raj Brown, and more really left me feeling with a sense of Black pride.

As much as I loved this movie, I personally felt it was not targeted specifically towards me. As a Black woman it was honestly preaching to the choir. Much of the information and messages presented when it came to the social implications of Black Barbie were something I already knew to begin with. Additionally, I felt like the movie held back a little in addressing what made the creation of Black Barbie so difficult (hint: it’s misogynoir). Along with the reservation in societal criticism, I felt like it had somewhat of a false sense of hopefulness to tie the end of the documentary together. But once again, I really contribute this feeling to being someone who is deep within the trenches of the knowledge that comes with the subject.

Due to this, I actually found the panel held by several Black female academics after the movie to be far more interesting than the film itself because they did directly address the shortcomings that I thought the movie had. These women were very eloquent in addressing the lack of calls towards tangible action in creating a safe space for Black women and they even touched on how the movie did not address the various intersections of black female identity. As I have stated before, these women provide such a unique and intricate perspective of life so I have their names and links to their work below. I really do suggest looking into them further.

Pictured left to right: Adiba Nelson, Dr. Lisa Corvington, Dr. Dawn Demps, J. Eik Diggs

Despite my gripes, I really do recommend this movie to people who have an interest in doll history, Black female entrepreneurship, or even just a curiosity for the story behind the toy you have played with. It is definitely worth a watch.

Links to the pannelists

Adiba Nelson

Dr. Lisa Corvington

Dr. Dawn Demps

J. Eik Diggs

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