In 2014 I was contacted by @DeShunaSpencer who wanted to start up a SVOD (Streaming Video On Demand) platform for films featuring Black content. In her research, she had run across what Shoga Films had produced to date and asked if we would participate. We gladly agreed and "T'Ain't Nobody's Bizness: Queer Blues Divas of the 1920s" became part of the founding collection.
In 2018 we added "The Lives of LaMott Atkins" to their catalog.
DeShuna has been a tireless promoter of KweliTV, and she has grown the company from a modest start-up with seed money totaling $20,000 to a streaming site that is available on many platforms and has signed a content-sharing deal with Comcast Xfinity. Her ambition is to make KweliTV Netflix for Black folk. Just recently PC Magazine picked KweliTV as one of the 16 Best Movie Streaming Services for 2020 along with Hulu, Peacock, and HBOMax. For a small streaming service that's only in its 6th year, that's an amazing achievement.
But the need was clear. A 2018 Color of Change study showed that 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 the low-income population. In contrast, white families clock in at 17 percent of the low-income sector, even though their actual number is 66 percent.
"Kweli" means "truth" in Swahili, and that's another connection we share. "Shoga" also comes from Swahili.