When you struggle to find something that meets your own needs, one solution is to create it for yourself. That was the impetus for DeShuna Spencer when she started KweliTV. She told The Root that she was discouraged when looking for something to watch on cable. “I was frustrated because there was not a space to watch black independent films, particularly from a global perspective,” Spencer said. She decided to do something about it in the form of KweliTV, a streaming platform similar to Netflix that features content created by filmmakers from across Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean, in addition to work by black artists from Europe and North America.
Although Netflix and other streaming providers have committed to making more diverse content, they still have a long way to go. Just having diverse content is one thing but it’s a rarity to see diverse content from global talent. KweliTV fills that gap, more importantly it fosters connection between black people around the world culturally.
Kweli means “truth” in Swahili and Spencer sees the platform as a way to help creatives get their work out to a wider audience while giving black audiences the ability to easily access more of the content they want to see. “As black people in the US,” Spencer says, “we should be able to learn about Trinidad, or South Africa or Brazil through media arts, and that’s what KweliTV strives to do.”
KweliTV is a hybrid platform that lets you subscribe to access all of their content at a rate of $49.99 annually or $5.99 monthly, rent one ($3.99) movie at a time for 24 hours, or watch a live channel for free. Their content selection includes films, documentaries, and shows. The content is highly curated, with 98% of their films having been official selections at film festivals and 65% of them having won awards. As they proclaim on their website, “We’re dope.”
KweliTV is being called the “black Netflix” but Spencer argues that the moniker is misleading. Unlike Netflix, KweliTV seeks to be a community that unites people in a personal way.
You can try KweliTV for free for 7 days.