Netflix is partnering with author and antiracist scholar Ibram X. Kendi (pictured) to produce several new projects based on his bestselling books, including the popular children’s book Antiracist Baby.
Antiracist Baby will be turned into a series of animated musical vignettes for preschoolers, executive produced by Chris Nee (Doc McStuffins) and Kendi. The shorts will be inspired by the board book’s nine steps to becoming antiracist, including “use your words to talk about race” and “celebrate all our differences.”
Antiracist Baby was recently highlighted in Netflix’s live-action series Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices, which features prominent Black celebrities and artists reading children’s books from Black authors aloud.
The other projects include hybrid documentary/scripted feature Stamped from the Beginning (based on Kendi’s book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas). Executive produced by Kendi and Mara Brock Akil, this movie will be directed and produced by Roger Ross Williams through his One Story Up shingle. It will be paired with Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You, a companion doc aimed at younger viewers, directed and produced by Williams and executive produced by Kendi.
This new partnership feeds into Netflix’s recent efforts to improve its diversity both on screen and behind the camera. Earlier this month, the streaming giant released its first inclusion report, which found that nearly half of the Netflix US workforce (46.4%) and leadership (42%) are from one or more underrepresented racial or ethnic backgrounds. These include Black, Latino or Hispanic, Indigenous, Middle Eastern, Asian and Pacific Islander. The streamer admitted it still has a lot of work to do to increase representation, however, and has hired Cassi Mecchi to lead an inclusion team in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.