Frustrated by the lack of accessibility to media reflecting the diversity of the African diaspora, DeShuna Spencer decided she would be the one to do something about it. Understanding how hard it is for black creators to have their content picked up, she went on to create her own platform & streaming service. 

Behold the birth of KweliTV

“The idea literally came to me after scrolling through a bunch of cable channels and not seeing anything that I wanted to watch,” she says. “I was frustrated because there was not a space to watch black independent films, particularly from a global perspective.”

KweliTV works just like most other streaming services. It allows monthly subscribers unlimited access to more than 200 indie films from nearly 150 creatives across Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as black communities in Europe and North America. Kweli, which is the Swahili word for “truth” encompasses the whole purpose of the network. With a goal of giving emerging independent creatives an opportunity to get their work shown, KweliTV exposes children of the diaspora and beyond to the work of black creatives globally. 

“It’s also an opportunity for us to just learn more about each other,” she says. “As black people in the U.S., we should be able to learn about Trinidad, or South Africa or Brazil through media arts, and that’s what KweliTV strives to do.” 

It should also be clear that there is still strong criteria for what makes it onto KweliTV. Spencer and her team screen movies before it is decided that they will make it to the site. 

“Generally our criteria is that the project has to have been screened in at least one film festival, or some type of peer review,” she says. “But even then we review films to make sure they fit what KweliTV is trying to do: be a catalyst for underrepresented perspectives in black media to be seen and heard.

“We want to eventually have our own awards entity that specifically recognizes excellence in black independent films,” she continued. “Right now, you pretty much expect that any mainstream film with a majority black cast or audience is going to be nominated for staple black awards whether it’s Soul Train, BET or NAACP Image Awards. But there’s little out there that recognizes our own independent artists.”

KweliTV is not the "black Netflix," rather it's an opportunity for inclusion and immersion. As the streaming service continues to grow, it's important that we remember that and give it it's proper respect. 

Will you all be checking out KweliTV?