Stamped from the Beginning | Official Trailer | Netflix

Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams brings Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s best-selling book Stamped From the Beginning to life, using vivid animations and leading female scholars to explore the history of anti-Black racist ideas.

In 2016, Dr. Ibram X. Kendi (How to Be an Antiracist) published Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award winner that chronicles the origins and evolution of anti-Black, racist ideas and their power in shaping policies, culture, and norms throughout American history. Now Oscar-winning director Roger Ross Williams is bringing that story to screen, adapting Kendi’s book to illuminate the foundational myths in history that still shape current perspectives.

In Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas, Williams uses an innovative animation process to blend live action with art, and the film highlights leading women academics and activists such as Dr. Angela Davis, Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, Brittany Packnett Cunningham, and Dr. Jennifer L. Morgan.

“When we started looking at historians and scholars, we came up with a long list. I noticed the pattern that most of the people doing the work around racism in America were Black women,” Williams told Netflix. “I asked them in pre-interviews, ‘Why do you do this work?’ And many of them said the same thing — that they had no choice. This was their experience and their life. And if they’re going to dedicate their life to something, it’s going to be about changing and understanding racism in America because they can’t escape racism in America. I said to everyone, ‘We’re going to have only Black women in this film.’ It was an important statement to make.

“This is about power and the few clinging to power and using it at the expense of Black Americans. This isn’t just a film for Black Americans. This is a film for all Americans, for the whole world. And hopefully it brings people together and leads people on a path of antiracism and healing.”

Stamped from the Beginning premieres on Netflix on Nov. 20. 

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