Netflix teams with historian Ibram X. Kendi to adapt his acclaimed anti-racism books

Tyler Aquilina
·2 min read

Greg Doherty/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Netflix is stepping up the development of new anti-racism projects.

The streamer is partnering with author and scholar Ibram X. Kendi to produce three new projects based on his acclaimed books Stamped From the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America; Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You; and Antiracist Baby. Kendi will executive produce all three projects.

Oscar winner Roger Ross Williams (Music by Prudence and Life, Animated) will direct Stamped From the Beginning, described as "a hybrid documentary/scripted feature," according to a press release. Girlfriends creator Mara Brock Akil will executive produce along with Kendi. Williams will also helm a companion documentary for younger viewers based on Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You.

Antiracist Baby, meanwhile, will become a series of musical animated vignettes aimed at preschoolers. Chris Nee, creator of Disney Junior's Doc McStuffins, will produce that project.

"I'm elated these projects landed at Netflix. What a wonderful partner," Kendi said in a statement. "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."

Kendi was named among Time's 100 Most Influential People of 2020, and is also the author of How to Be an Antiracist, which surged to the top of The New York Times Bestseller List over the summer amid a wave of Black Lives Matter protests in response to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others.

"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," Williams said in a statement. "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."

Added Nee, "I feel deeply honored to have a chance to help deepen the impact of Dr. Kendi's work. We are living in tumultuous times and it is incumbent on all of us to use our platforms to make the world a better place."

To help combat systemic racism, please consider donating to these organizations:

  • Campaign Zero, which is dedicated to ending police brutality in America through research-based strategies.

  • Color of Change, which works to move decision makers in corporations and government to be more responsive to racial disparities.

  • Equal Justice Initiative, which provides legal services to people who have been wrongly convicted, denied a fair trial, or abused in state jails and prisons.

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