Netflix announced on Friday that it will partner with antiracist scholar and acclaimed author Dr Ibram X Kendi to adapt three of his bestselling books for the screen.
Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You, and Antiracist Baby will be developed by Netflix across “several different formats and genres, offering a timely and thoughtful examination of racism for audiences of all ages”.
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America is about the existence of racism in American society and the need to understand how those racist ideas developed. Kendi won the National Book Award for nonfiction for this book, making him the youngest winner of the award. Netflix will be creating Stamped from the Beginning, a hybrid documentary/scripted feature, based on this book. The film will be produced and directed by Roger Ross Williams under the banner One Story Up and executive produced by Mara Brock Akil along with Kendi.
Netflix’s second film, titled Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You, will be a companion documentary targeting a younger audience. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You will be based on Kendi’s book of the same name (co-authored by Jason Reynolds), a New York Times bestseller. This film will also be directed and produced by Roger Ross Williams and executive produced by Kendi. The film will explore the history of racist ideas in the United States, and will take the audience through time to the present.
Netflis will also make Antiracist Baby, an adaptation in the form of a series of animated vignettes targeting pre-schoolers. The series will be based on Kendi’s bestselling children’s book of the same name and will be executive produced by Peabody, Humanitas University, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and Chris Nee and Kendi. The series will lay out short music videos that go through the steps to becoming an antiracist individual.
Following the announcement, Kendi said in a press release, “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.”
Netflix has actively been working to create inclusive content as well as a more inclusive workspace since 2017.
Kendi is the founding director of BU Center for Antiracist Research and also contributes to the magazine, The Atlantic. His next book is titled Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 which will be co-edited by Keisha Blain. Kendi was listed as one of the 100 most influential people in the world by TIME magazine in 2020.