Netflix is partnering up with renowned, and sometimes controversial, professor Dr. Ibram X. Kendi to produce two documentaries based on his two bestselling books. They are Stamped from the Beginning and Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You.
Both projects will be directed by Emmy Award-winner Roger Ross Williams (The Innocence Files, The Apollo, Life, Animated, Music by Prudence) through his production company One Story Up. They will be executive produced by NAACP Image Award-winner Mara Brock Akil (Girlfriends, The Game, Being Mary Jane). Dr. Kendi will also serve as executive producer.
Dr. Kendi commented in a statement:
“I’m elated these projects landed at Netflix. What a wonderful partner. I’m elated to work with Roger Ross Williams, Mara Brock Akil, and Chris Nee. They are such ambitious, innovative, and passionate creators who are committed to racial justice. But I’m really elated for the viewers, for the adults and children who will be captivated, informed, and transformed by these projects.”
Director Roger Ross Williams added:
“Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s ‘Stamped from the Beginning’ and ‘Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You’ are powerful and essential pieces of literature that clearly outline how deeply rooted racist ideas are in the United States. I hope these films crystallize Dr. Kendi’s message that ‘the only thing wrong with Black people is that they think something is wrong with Black people’ and encourage everyone to fight for a more equitable society. I am thrilled to be partnering with Netflix to bring Dr. Kendi’s incredible work and crucial insights to a broader audience.”
The two projects were announced along with an animated series aimed at young kids called Antiracist Baby, but Netflix canceled it along with many other animated projects as part of their reevaluation of content specifically in their animation department.
Who is Dr. Ibram X. Kendi
Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is one of America’s foremost historians and leading antiracist scholars. He is the Andrew W. Mellon Professor in the Humanities at Boston University, and the founding director of the BU Center for Antiracist Research. He is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a CBS News racial justice contributor. Dr. Kendi is also the 2020-2021 Frances B. Cashin Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.
Dr. Kendi is the author of many books including “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” which won the National Book Award for Nonfiction, making him the youngest ever winner of that award. “Stamped from the Beginning” was a New York Times bestseller, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and nominated for a NAACP Image Award.
About Stamped from the Beginning
Netflix’s Stamped from the Beginning is a hybrid documentary/scripted feature based on Dr. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning “Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas,” will be directed and produced by Oscar and Emmy Award-winner Roger Ross Williams (The Innocence Files, The Apollo, Life, Animated, Music by Prudence) through his production company One Story Up and executive produced by NAACP Image Award-winner Mara Brock Akil (Girlfriends, The Game, Being Mary Jane). Dr. Kendi will also serve as executive producer.
Here’s the official synopsis for Stamped from the Beginning:
“Some Americans cling desperately to the myth that we are living in a post-racial society, that the election of the first Black president spelled the doom of racism. In fact, racist thought is alive and well in America – more sophisticated and more insidious than ever. And as award-winning historian Dr. Ibram X. Kendi argues in “Stamped from the Beginning,” if we have any hope of grappling with this stark reality, we must first understand how racist ideas were developed, disseminated, and enshrined in American society.”
What’s on Netflix has learned that a portion of the documentary will be filming in June 2022 in New York City, USA. The scripted elements is set to be directed by Roger Ross Williams.
About Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You
Netflix’s Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You will be a companion documentary to Stamped from the Beginning aimed at younger viewers, is based on the #1 New York Times bestseller for young adults of the same name by Dr. Kendi and Jason Reynolds, and will be directed and produced by Roger Ross Williams and executive produced by Dr. Kendi.
Here’s the official synopsis for Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You:
“The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. A companion documentary to Stamped from the Beginning, this film reveals the history of racist ideas in America and inspires hope for an antiracist future. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You aims to take young viewers on a race journey, exploring how we got here, why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers.”
What’s the release date for the Stamped projects?
Netflix hasn’t confirmed a release date for either of these projects, but we imagine they may arrive sometime in 2023.