Before I go into details about a new black Netflix like service that I recently subscribed to, I’ll start by stating that I am both a Netflix subscriber and shareholder. Netflix has become one of the greatest American success stories of modern times. Microsoft Founder Bill Gates actually predicted the rise of Netflix while describing his definition of “killer application” in his U.S. anti-trust deposition in 1998. Fast forward to the 15 minute 45 second mark in the following YouTube video, if you don’t believe me.
“When people are talking about interactive TV, they thought video on demand would be a killer application and something went wrong because the whole thing never caught on but people have been using that term. The idea that letting people watch movies, as something that would be extremely popular.” – Bill Gates, August 27th, 1998
Now Netflix was only founded in 1997, so Bill Gates couldn’t have known about Netflix in 1998. What Bill Gates described however back in 1998 as a “killer application” is basically what Netflix has become today. Netflix is in fact a killer application. Streaming video is now one of the most popular technologies today.
Recently, I became aware of a black Netflix like service named Kweli TV. When I heard about Kweli TV, I became intrigued. I then looked into it and a few days later I became a subscriber to Kweli TV. The payment options for Kweli TV was either $49.99 annually or $5.99 monthly. It’s relatively cheap so I decided to support black business and became a subscriber. I opted for the annual payment of $49.99. I saved about $22 bucks going with the yearly option over the monthly option.
Here is What’s Positive About Kweli TV
Multiple Methods of Streaming Kweli TV
Kweli TV Supports streaming from the following devices:
- Amazon fireTV
- Apple TV
- Google Play Store
I have an older Apple TV therefore I’m not able to watch Kweli TV on my Apple TV. I do need to update my Apple TV at some point. Since, I do not have a streaming device that supports Kweli TV, I used the good old web browser on my iPhone to watch Kweli TV Programming.
Great Black Documentaries on Kweli TV
Where Kweli TV really excels is in its black documentaries. Not only does Kweli TV have black American documentaries but it also has awesome black documentaries from around the world. It’s black documentaries from all around the world are awesome because it allows one to learn about black circumstances in other parts of the world. Here are some of the documentaries I’ve watched on Kweli TV.
The Big Banana
Filmmaker: Franck Bieleu
Length: 85 minutes
This documentary was actually the most upsetting documentary that I watched on Kweli TV. The documentary was about how a large company named PHP exploits black Cameroon natives by creating huge banana plantations that severely under pay its workers. These bananas are then shipped to Europe for European consumption. The documentary is an eye opener and showed the continued exploitation of black workers around the world. Often times the politicians that represented the Cameroonian people are on the board of directors of PHP. This documentary is an eye opener and a must watch on Kweli TV.
Filmmaker: Sandra Krampelhuber
Length: 62 minutes
This documentary was about the thriving arts scene in Dakar, Senegal. Dakar is the capital of Senegal in West Africa. I did not know about the happening arts scene in Dakar. There are graffiti artists, musicians, and fashion designers who are thriving. They are all young and a close-knit community. The way that they all supported each other is inspiring. After, watching this documentary I want to take a trip to Dakar.
Filmmaker: Charysse Tia Harper
Length: 65 minutes
12 months is a selfless documentary about a black man named Tony Tolbert who rented his 3 bedroom home in Los Angeles to a black family in need for $1 per month for a year. Not many people would do what Tony did. Tony moved back into his mother’s home and rented his own home to a mother with children who was trying to get back on her feet. This was a very inspiring story. This story is the greatest form of charity.
Great Black Short Films on Kweli TV
Another area where Kweli TV excels is in its short films. These short films are anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes in length. Here are some of the short films I watched on Kweli TV.
Director: Booker T. Mattison
Length: 9:30 mins
Bird is about a former track star sentenced to prison for a crime. The story is short and powerful. Too many black men are unfortunately sent to prison.
Film Producer: Sydney Taylor
Length: 12:15 mins
Ban is an imaginary story about a young black female reporter named Denise Williams who suffers racial discrimination at her workplace over her hair. Denise then takes matters into her own hands. The short film is well acted and filmed.
Here is What’s Negative About Kweli TV
This section is more about constructive criticism. I do understand the need for Kweli TV to survive and grow on limited resources. Here is some areas that I believe Kweli TV can improve to take their service to the next level.
Kweli TV’s Reliance on Vimeo
Kweli TV seems to use Vimeo under the covers. Creating its own streaming platform would increase Kweli TV’s worth. I do understand that R&D is expensive. Doing this however would create a moat around Kweli TV. Kweli TV will likely need to raise funds. Programming costs money and is likely to get more expensive in the future. Kweli TV also need to spend money on Research and Development (R&D) to keep their service competitive. It is my opinion that Kweli TV has great potential to raise money from the crowd via the Jobs Act. See my article “Jobs Act Makes Black Crowdfunding History” for further details. Crowdfunding is definitely an area that Kweli TV founder, Deshuna Spencer should consider.
Kweli TV’s Lack of Full Feature Film
While Kweli TV seems to excel at documentaries and short films, full feature films seems lacking on the service. By full feature films, I mean movies that are one and a half to two hours in length. I’d like to see full black comedies, dramas, action movies, etc on Kweli TV. To compete as the black Netflix, Kweli TV will need to improve in this area.
Another Potential Black Netflix Like Subscription Service
Another black Netflix like subscription service that I’m aware of that I intended to subscribe to is “Dame Dash Studios” by Rocafella founder Damon Dash. I attempted to subscribe to Dame Dash Studios however I hit a snag once realizing that the Dame Dash Studios Website is not SSL enabled. One should not enter payment information on a website that is not SSL enabled.
Notice the missing lock on the Dame Dash Studios website.
Compared to Kweli TV that has the 🔒
It’s a huge mistake for Dame Dash Studios to not fix this issue. Security on the web is important. A person should not add any payment information on a site that doesn’t have the lock. If they fix the issue, I’ll potentially subscribe to Dame Dash Studios. Damon Dash has some classic films throughout the years. I do really want to watch the movie “Honor Up”. If Dame fixes the security issue then I’ll possibly continue with the subscription process. The cost of Dame Dash Studios is about the same as Kweli TV. Dame Dash Studios should also consider other payment options such as PayPal.
Final Take on Kweli TV as a Black Netflix like Service.
Netflix is the “killer application” that Bill Gates described in his Microsoft vs US government deposition in 1998. A black Netflix that focuses on programming that is specific to blacks is a much warranted streaming television niche. Kweli TV does a good job at filling this need. It has great black documentaries and short films. As mentioned it needs to improve upon its lack of full feature films. It also should look to stream its movies using its own streaming technology. With smart money management and the right capital raise, and investment in R&D, Kweli TV will be a force to reckon with for years to come.
Do you subscribe to Kweli TV or Dame Dash Studios? What are your thoughts on these services?