Move over, Netflix. Kweli.tv is here to stay. KweliTV is a streaming media platform for black film creators all over the world to make their work public, get feedback and make money from its circulation. Not only is KweliTV completely black-owned and founded by a black woman (DeShuna Spencer), but all of its content is carefully handpicked to bring a positive contribution to the black community.
Also, almost all of the content that is available for streaming on the platform has been officially selected at international film festivals.
KweliTV hopes to change the popular narratives about the black community and tell both positive and authentic stories from the black perspective. According to Color of Change, black families represent nearly 60% of the poor in mainstream media, although they make up only about 30% of low-income people in the United States. This is only one of the ways mainstream media distorts the narrative about black people, black families and black women in particular. Not only are black women disproportionately represented in fashion magazines, television shows and films, but when we actually are given roles they are usually roles that degrade and dehumanize us.
It’s rare that the roles that black women portray in the media contradict the negative stereotypes of black women as aggressive, inhumanly strong, or as maids, slaves or nannies. It’s difficult to name any popular stories in mainstream media that portray us as multi-dimensional beings with feelings and a capacity for both good and evil. Moreover, we’re not given the room to be attractive, beautiful, feminine and dainty. Instead, women like Tiffany Haddish and Leslie Jones—who build their careers on being caricatures of black women and exploiting the worst stereotypes about us—are often the face of black womanhood.
Thankfully, platforms like KweliTV are beginning to pop up and give black people a chance to celebrate the black experience in Europe, North America, Latin America, the Caribbean and Africa. This is why it’s so vital that black people support platforms like this that are made for and by black people and that give us a chance to put our best foot forward.
KweliTV founder Deshuna Spencer told Tech Crunch that the requirements for content to be featured on the platform is that the main character is black and “not the sidekick, the friend or the fairy godmother.” If that’s not enough to sell you, maybe the fact that membership is cheaper than Netflix will do the trick. Monthly payments are $5.99 or if you choose to pay annually, $49.99 per year. As if that’s not enough, the first seven days are free!
Articles like “The Maid, The Slave and Other Roles We’re Tired of Seeing Black Women Portray” are great for highlighting the problem that Hollywood and mainstream media has with representing black people properly. But it’s important that black people don’t just settle for complaining about the problem, but that we are always looking for innovative ways to change our financial and cultural positions in society. Supporting platforms like KweliTV, which place the power in our hands, is one of the solutions and keys to creating the change that we’d like to see. If you have a young black daughter or son and are tired of mainstream media’s one-sided portrayal of black people, consider encouraging your child to watch some of the kids' programming on KweliTV. Aside from kids' programming, they also stream independent films, news, web shows and documentaries!
Here is a fantastic video that summarizes exactly why you should want to sign up with KweliTV: