According to Spencer kweli means “truth” in Swahili, and is an appropriate name since the platform strives to provide an accurate portrayal of the global Black community and its experiences—a departure from stereotypes and what is often depicted in the mainstream media. Spencer, who is based in the Washington, D.C., area, was curious to learn more about the Black population in far-flung places like Ghana, Brazil, and Mozambique. And kweliTV fills that void.
Funding the project herself, she aims to change perceptions about communities of African descent worldwide, and grant a deeper understanding of Black culture. “Our mission is to showcase an authentic representation of what it means to be Black in the U.S. and globally, so our content curation reflects that,” she says.
KweliTV recognizes the works of Black thought leaders, journalists, filmmakers, and other artists; it also gives these innovators a space to exhibit their art while celebrating the beauty of Black life. Likewise, the network explores how the African diaspora has influenced cultures and traditions—such as dance, food, and music—around the world.
The SVOD service hones in on Black life, history, culture, and experiences, telling stories about the Black community.
The monthly price is US$5.99, and annual subscriptions cost US$49.99. One-day rentals are available for US$2.99. Live TV is available for free with ads.
At 100% Black-owned, kweliTV is a digital platform featuring independent films, documentaries, web series, news, live events and shows, and programs for children and teens. The SVOD service takes an in-depth look at Black culture and provides a lineup of informative and entertaining TV and movies showcasing the global Black community.
Many selections are film-festival favorites, with new documentaries added to the roster on the first of each month. Films range from intriguing shorts to full-length dramatic features to comedies, sci-fi, sports, web shows, and more. While many of kweliTV’s programs are produced in the U.S., there’s a selection made in the Caribbean and Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, Canada, and Europe.
WHAT’S THE GOOD?
kweliTV compensates its creators through revenue sharing, and a large percentage of the subscription cost goes directly to the moviemakers.
“We allocate 60% of our subscription revenue to our 300-plus content creators,” Spencer says. “We pay filmmakers based off minutes viewed on our platform.”
Even though most filmmakers’ works are festival selections, and 65% are award-winning, many struggle to be distributed after their film festival run.
“They may be unknown to the larger film community or don’t have the right connections to get on the radar of other platforms, which means so many great films aren’t seen,” Spencer says. “We’re solving that problem.”
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