“Time for an Awakening” for Sunday 1/28/2017 at 7:00 PM (EST) 6:00 PM (CST) guest was Activist, Internet Radio host of the program “War on the Horizon”, The Irritated Genie of Soufeese. Why has a great deal of our attempts to unify, or create unifying movements fail or stall? Is it all on us?, or is it other forces at work to insure the failure of our efforts? We talked about this and other topics with our guest.
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Kweli.tv aims to be the go-to streaming media platform for black filmmakers all over the world to share their content and make money from its distribution. KweliTV handpicks all of its content, with 98 percent of the content having been official selections at film festivals worldwide.
“There are a lot of really great filmmakers out there globally,” KweliTV founder DeShuna Spencer told me. “For us, we’re offering an avenue for filmmakers of color to make money off of their work and be celebrated for the work they do.”
Perhaps, more importantly, KweliTV wants to be a source of authentic storytelling of the black community from the black perspective. A recent study showed the mainstream media (news and opinion media) offers a consistently warped view of black people and black families. For example, black families represent 59 percent of the poor in mainstream media even though they make up just 27 percent of low-income people, according to Color of Change. Meanwhile, white families make up just 17 percent of low-income people while they officially represent 66 percent of the country’s low-income population.
Kweli, which means “truth” in Swahili, aims to tell all sides of the black experience. In order for content to be featured on KweliTV, the the main character needs to be of African descent and “not the sidekick, the friend of the fairy godmother,” KweliTV founder DeShuna Spencer told me. “The black person has to be the main character.”
An example of some KweliTV content is a film called Something Necessary. Created by Kenyan filmmaker Judy Kibinge, Something Necessary explores life after the civil unrest in Kenya following the 2007 elections through the eyes of a woman named Anne. In 2013, the film was nominated for audience choice award at the Chicago International Film Festival and screened at the Toronto International Film Festival.
There are currently 200 titles on the platform, with KweliTV adding about three titles a week in the categories of documentary, shorts and full-length features. Subscribers can watch KweliTV on the web or via Roku, Apple TV or Google Play. Unlike Netflix, the goal is not to have an endless library of content. Instead. KweliTV wants to keep it intimate with no more than 500 titles at a time.
KweliTV, which launched out of beta just a few months ago, currently has 2,000 paying subscribers. By the end of the year, the goal is to hit 30,000 paid subscribers. An annual membership costs $49.99/year and a monthly one costs $5.99.
As a value-add to the streaming content, KweliTV partners with other black-owned businesses to offer discounts and other perks to its subscribers. Subscribers can access discounts at companies like Heritage Box, Black Card Revoked, African Ancestry and others.
On the creator side, filmmakers get paid based on how many minutes people spend viewing their content. More specifically, 60 percent of Kweli.TV’s revenue goes to filmmakers, who get paid quarterly.
In alignment with Spencer’s desire to keep it intimate, KweliTV is going to start hosting in-person events for its members to connect with each other. The first event will be next month.
“We really see Kweli as being a community more than a streaming service,” Spencer said. “Our customers are asking us to be more community-oriented.”
KweliTV is a bootstrapped company in the traditional sense, meaning it hasn’t raised funding from any angel investors or VCs. The company has, however, won $65,000 from a couple of startup competitions.
“It’s a full-time job to raise money,” Spencer said. “That’s not to say we’ll never raise but today, my focus is on revenue.”
One of KweliTV’s competitors, Afrostream, shut down last August, despite raising $4 million in capital. Spencer pointed to Afrostream as a bit of a cautionary tale of trying to grow too quickly.
Instead of becoming a unicorn, Spencer sees her company as a zebra. Unlike unicorns, zebras a profitable and work to improve society, and KweliTV is achieving both of those requirements.Post Views: 848
On the hot summer night on of July 12, 1967, two white policemen in Newark, New Jersey, arrested an African-American cabdriver named John Smith for “tailgating” and driving in the wrong direction. The police also accused Smith of physical assault and using offensive language. Race relations had been growing more tense over the year as Newark Mayor Hugh Addonizio announced a series of decisions that had angered the African-American community.Some of the residents who were living across the street from where the arrest took place walked out of their homes to watch the incident. Smith was badly beaten. As the police hauled him to the Fourth Precinct station, word spread within the community about what was happening. African-American taxi drivers sent out reports through their radios. A crowd slowly gathered to monitor and protest Smith’s treatment. Word quickly spread about the arrest and what was taking place inside the station.A total of five days of brutal rioting rocked Newark. There were violent clashes between the rioters and the National Guard, who were instructed to use their weapons whenever necessary. One African American man recalled that, as a child living through the riots, “my mother was so afraid, because she has eight kids, she had us under the bed hiding. I remember bullets and stuff coming through.”When the riots ended on July 17, there were 26 people dead and hundreds injured. But this was not the end of chaos for the country. The riots in Newark were followed by equally devastating riots in Detroit and several other smaller cities across the nation.On July 23, undercover police in Detroit raided an unlicensed bar where a crowd of working class African-Americans had gathered to welcome home some returning Vietnam War veterans. The raid sparked five days of rioting. After the police rounded up 82 people, a crowd surrounded the police and yelled: “Black power. Don’t let them take our people away.”Violence quickly escalated as the officers took the men to jail, and President Johnson signed an order authorizing federal troops to intervene. Forty-three people died, more than a thousand were injured; about seven thousand were arrested.When the Detroit riots ended, the nation was stunned by what had occurred in this turbulent month. The promise of civil rights progress seemed to have fallen apart.Soon after the Kerner Commission produced its shocking report, Richard Nixon was elected President and national politics moved in a more conservative direction. Rather than focusing on reforming our criminal justice system to achieve racial justice, the nation focused on President Nixon’s call to “law and order”– which entailed more punitive policies and sentencing, the militarization of local police forces, and the expansion of the carceral system.The fiftieth anniversary of these riots is a troubling reminder of the distance that we have not traveled as a nation since the 1960s. Some of the same problems that were evident when violence shook the streets of Newark remain with us today.It would be wrong to say that the nation has not made any improvements since July of 1967. There have been reforms to policing, public attitudes about race have changed, and the growth of African-American representation has changed the political dynamics surrounding these issues.In recent years, these issues received renewed attention when citizens used their smartphones to capture videos of police engaging in violent and lethal behavior against African-American men. The videos spawned the most robust civil rights movement that we have seen in decades with Black Lives Matter, which put criminal justice front and center on the national agenda. Toward the end of President Obama’s term there was even evidence that a bipartisan coalition was taking form to push for legislation addressing this problem.But after the movement built momentum, national politics once again moved in a different direction with the election of President Trump. The problems exposed with the images from Ferguson, Staten Island, Cincinnati and elsewhere have not been addressed. The recent court decisions that freed several police officers involved in the shooting of African-Americans offered further evidence for many civil rights advocates that the final years of the Obama presidency did not bring as much progress as they hoped they would.Follow CNN Opinion
Like Richard Nixon, President Trump pushed the national debate about policing in a very different direction. He expressed little sympathy for civil rights advocates and has been vocal about the need to provide full and unquestioning support for existing police and carceral institutions. There is little evidence that reform efforts at the local level are making any headway, either, as was evident with the recent decisions on police incidents that occurred.As a result, we still live with many of the conditions that afflicted African-Americans fifty years ago. The Kerner Commission warned that if we did not take action the situation would only deteriorate and anger would continue to explode into violence. Policymakers and elected officials might want to take a look back at what the report had to say about the outbursts in Newark and Detroit, for their findings are still extremely relevant in our current era.To read more Click or Copy link: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/11/opinions/newark-riots-opinion-zelizer/index.htmlPost Views: 619
“Time for an Awakening” for Friday 5/05/2017 guest was founder and President of the National African American Gun Association Mr. Philip Smith. We discussed the organization he founded and started, with the primary goal to expose, educate, and motivate as many African American men and women to go out and purchase a firearm for Self- Defense.Post Views: 712