'Antiracism' Professor Pads Bottom Line with Netflix Deal

Streaming giant set to target preschoolers with Ibram X. Kendi's 'Antiracist Baby'

Ibram X. Kendi
Ibram X. Kendi / Getty Images
January 18, 2021

Netflix has struck a deal with antiracism proponent Ibram X. Kendi to adapt two of his books into movies and children's programs.

Netflix will create two films based on the author and Boston University professor's 2016 book Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, Vulture reported this weekend, and "a series of musical animated vignettes" for preschool-aged viewers based on Kendi's children's book, Antiracist Baby.

While it's unclear how much Kendi will make from the Netflix collaboration, the antiracist and anti-capitalist researcher has profited from lucrative deals for speaking engagements and other work in the past.  Fairfax County Public Schools paid Kendi $20,000 for an hourlong antiracist Zoom lecture in September, and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey paid him $10 million last year after Boston University picked him to lead its antiracist research center in June.

Kendi established American University's Antiracist Research and Policy Center in 2017. While there, he received substantial financial backing from the Ford Foundation for projects that he never completed. In 2019, the foundation paid Kendi $200,000 to create a "National Antibigotry Project" and gave him $50,000 to write a "racial reporting guidebook" and lead a related symposium. Neither of those projects materialized.

Social-justice advocates and authors, such as Kendi and White Fragility writer Robin DiAngelo, profited from last year's wave of racial-justice protests following the death of George Floyd. The University of Wisconsin paid DiAngelo $12,750 to speak at an event in October—70 percent more than a black colleague, documents uncovered by the Washington Free Beacon showed.