When kweliTV launched our first beta in 2015, it was a very exciting time for me. I knew we were doing something special; but deep down I hoped that our core audience-my community—would agree. What we thought would be a few page views during those early days, weeks and months turned out to be so much more, thanks in part to black-owned websites such as Urban Intellectuals.
Now two years later, we are back with an exciting new, kweliTV with our recent official launch. And I must admit, I think the new platform is pretty dope. Our launch comes with a revamped website, TV apps, new film releases, and discounts to black-owned businesses.
While we’re been dubbed “the Black Netflix”, kweliTV is nothing like its nickname. Our video streaming network is like no other by focusing on content that celebrates black people and black culture from across the globe—North America, Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa.
Showing the black experience from a global perspective is very important to me. I’ve always been curious about what black culture was like for people living in places like Ghana, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Mozambique, Antiqua, Cuba and other parts of the world. Because of the slave trade, many African traditions blended with the culture of the new countries—from dance, food, music, etc. Cultural identities that are still strong today. Yet, these are stories we never see in mainstream media. kweliTV’s mission is to fill that void.
All of our content is curated and handpicked specifically with our community in mind. kweliTV curates documentaries, indie films, web shows, children’s programming, news and more. To date, 98 percent of our films were featured at film festivals around the world and more than 65 percent are award winning.
Kweli means truth in Swahili. So our mission is to curate content that shows a true reflection of the black experience here in the US and abroad. We want to change how people of African descent are portrayed in mainstream media. Our community is overwhelmingly absent from leadership roles in film and production studios, which is why we end up with scenarios in which black man and women are portrayed unjustly. This is why media perception and authentic representation matter. It is critical that as a community we create and control our own narratives through media ownership.
Another important focus of kweliTV is to give independent filmmakers of African descent from across the globe the opportunity to showcase their content after their film festival run. A recent study showed that more than 90 percent of filmmakers who receive distribution and licensing deals from networks, streaming services and studios are typically white men. We’re working to change that through kweliTV. We believe it’s important to give black filmmakers and producers across the globe—who create important work that uplifts, educates and celebrates our community—a space to shine and make money. We have established partnerships with more than 115+ filmmakers across the globe, half of which are black women.
kweliTV has nearly 200 titles (more than 7,000 total viewing hours) currently on the platform. We will be adding three-five new titles every Wednesday. In addition to award-winning films and documentaries, we will be releasing “kweliOriginals” that will focus on news and social justice issues affecting the global black community:
–#WokeWebSeries: The live, weekly 30-minute show will give an on the ground report on news affecting black people around the world – from police brutality incidents, new legislation, protests, policies, petitions, etc. The solution-based show will be hosted by activist-journalists including Janaye Ingram (an activist and lead organizer of the Women’s March on Washington), who will tackle issues affecting black lives by interviewing community organizers and leaders across the globe.
–#BlackRundown: A fast-paced, daily countdown show that will highlight the top five most important news stories impacting the entire African diaspora.
–Meet the Filmmaker: A one-on-one interview with upcoming and prolific independent filmmakers of color across the globe.
Here’s more about the kweliTV plans: Subscriptions – $49.99 a year or $5.99 a month; Rental – $3.99 per 24-hour; Live TV – Free. Student discounts also available. Subscriptions include a 7-day free trial.
As a 100 percent black-owned, bootstrapped company, this has been a long journey for us to get here. But I’m excited to show you what we’ve been working on. Check out our new platform by visiting: https://www.kweli.tv and tell us what you think!
DeShuna Spencer, Founder/CEO of kweliTV
This is a guest post supplied by kweliTV, Urban Intellectuals was not paid for this post, we believe in kweli’s mission and wanted to share their news with you all.