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Black Barbie Celebrates Her 43rd Birthday: Black Cinema Presents the Story Behind the Iconic Doll


Love her or hate her, almost everyone has a Barbie story!

For filmmaker Lagueria Davis, it all started with her 83-year-old Aunt Beulah Mae and a seemingly simple question, "Why not make a Barbie that looks like me?”

"Black Barbie", a personal exploration that tells a richly archival, thought-provoking story that gives voice to the insights and experiences of Beulah Mae Mitchell, who spent 45 years working at Mattel.

The Black Cinema Series is presenting, a partnership between the Rochester Association of Black Journalists (RABJ) and the Little Theatre, will present the story on Wednesday, August 2 at 7:30 p.m. at the Little Theatre, 240 East Ave., East End District, Rochester, New York.

Upon Mattel's 1980 release of Black Barbie, the film turns to the intergenerational impact the doll had. Discussing how the absence of black images in the "social mirror" left Black girls with little other than White subjects for self-reflection and self-projection.

Beulah Mae Mitchell and other Black women in the film talk about their own, complex, varied experience of not seeing themselves represented, and how Black Barbie's transformative arrival affected them personally.

Following the film, there will be a post-screening panel discussion about "Black Barbie: A Documentary."

The documentary is directed by Davis with Camilla Hall, producer, and Jyoti Sarda, co-producer. It was made in the USA, released in 2023, is in English, and is not rated.

Doors open at 7 p.m. and the film is at 7:30 p.m. Tickets available online in advance or at the box office day of the screening. Go to https://thelittle.org/black-barbie/.

The Black Cinema Series partnership was founded in February 2017 and is in its sixth season. The series screens both scripted and non-fiction films about the Black experience. With an emphasis on contemporary independent films the series highlights Black perspectives and filmmakers with screenings and panel discussions with community experts and filmmakers.

The Rochester Association of Black Journalists (RABJ) strives to ensure diversity in area media and accurate balanced coverage of communities of color while serving as a resource for both established and aspiring communicators of African descent. The organization was founded in 2004. Rochester Association of Black Journalists was named the 2019 NABJ Professional Chapter of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists.

Want additional RABJ information, email info@rabjonline.org or go to https://www.rabjonline.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/RABJ.417

Find more information about the Little by visiting www.facebook.com/TheLittleTheatreROC. or https://thelittle.org/

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