Q&A with BLACK BARBIE Filmmaker Lagueria Davis

Published On: June 1, 2023 |

Still from Black Barbie: A Documentary

We recently caught up with 2019 MediaMaker Fellow and filmmaker Lagueria Davis! Lagueria directed and produced the film Black Barbie: A Documentary,  which is part of a broader movement to increase understanding of the importance of representation for Black women. It premiered at SXSW and screened at HotDocs.

Through intimate access to a charismatic Mattel insider, Beulah Mae Mitchell, Black Barbie delves into the cross-section of merchandise and representation as Black women struggle to elevate their own voices and stories, refusing to be invisible.

Black Barbie: A Documentary is screening as part of the San Francisco Documentary Film Festival on Thursday, June 8, at 6:30 PM at the Roxie Theater → Get your tickets here.

Filmmaker Lagueria Davis

How long have you been working on this project and how does it feel to be able to show it to the world now? 

Well, I got the idea for the project in 2011. So, I’ve been working on the project since then. It feels somewhat surreal to be honest. There are some days when I wake up and I’m like to myself thinking, “Yo, Black Barbie: A Documentary is done and screening in film festivals– that’s wild!” Hahaha. It also feels really nice and rewarding to be at this phase of the journey. 

What role did your experience as a BAVC MediaMaker Fellow play in your journey to making this film? 

It was great to be a BAVC MediaMaker Fellow in 2019 which was the year in which I feel I really found the voice of the project. Being able to workshop the project with the other Fellows who were also at a similar stage was extremely helpful. Being in community and conversation is so very helpful for the creative process.

What was something that surprised you in the process of making this film? 

How it would grow and change through each phase of the process. What’s great is that it grew into something better than I could have ever imagined. Our team being open to that kind of growth and evolution was such a lovely and synergistic surprise. 

Do you have any advice for filmmakers working on their first feature documentary (or thinking about starting)? 

Oh wow, what a question… advice for filmmakers working on their first feature documentary would be to find your tribe and those who champion you and your project. Also, have an understanding that the making of the documentary is more of a marathon and not a sprint, that can oftentimes be a lonely process even when you have the support of your tribe. With that being the case find ways in which to stay connected to you, your center, and the ability to tap into what fortifies and nourishes your spirit. 

What’s next? What are you looking forward to in 2023 (and beyond)? 

What’s next is what’s now. Meaning, that initially, I was drowning in the tides of trying to find what will be next. I ultimately came to the realization that trying to find the answer to that question was robbing me of being able to appreciate what is happening right now. So, what’s next is what’s happening right now, which is we’re lining up festival screenings for Black Barbie: A Documentary and I’ll be traveling with it engaging with our audience and perhaps that will lead me to what’s next on my creative journey. Stay tuned!

Get your tickets here to see Black Barbie: A Documentary on Thursday, June 8, at 6:30 PM at the Roxie Theater.