What To Do About Netflix & The Oscars

I’m struggling to keep up with which boycott I’m supposed to join in order to be considered “woke.” I think this week it’s the Oscars. No, it’s Netflix this time! I’m tired of boycotting White companies so that Black people will be treated nicer and Whites will become more culturally sensitive. If you are asking me to boycott Netflix so that a $100 billion company — worth more than CBS and Time Warner — will pay a few Black people more crumbs, count me out. I’m interested in a lot of Black people winning. I’m interested in all of the #BlackGirlMagic and the genius of Black men building platforms that will outpace Netflix and force the Oscars to acknowledge them. That won’t happen simply by boycotting. [caption id="attachment_4527" align="alignright" width="383"] KweliTV, Black owned Streaming service[/caption] Netflix started in 1998 with 30 employees and 925 DVDs available for rent. As their subscribers grew they were able to start producing their own content, like House of Cards. House 0f Cards was so well received that it, a show from a streaming service, won an Emmy award in 2013. A streamed show made the television industry bow down. Boycotting Netflix is fine but I have a better idea. KweliTv is a Black owned streaming service featuring original content for and by Black people. Just as Netflix grew into a $100 billion business that now has the freedom to produce its own award-winning content, I’m much more interested in getting behind KweliTv — annual membership breaks down to less than $5 monthly — and watching it grow. I’d like to see Black producers and performers creating content we love and the industry bowing down to it. You don’t think we can produce something better than House of Cards? [caption id="attachment_4535" align="alignleft" width="315"] Moonlight (2016 Film) Writer – Tarell McCraney, Director – Barry Jenkins[/caption] We can do anything. Not only can we do anything but historically we’ve done it with a lot less. Netflix was worth tens of millions before it was able to produce House of Cards. Black people, on the other hand, took $1.5 million and created Moonlight — a film that forced the Oscars to bow down, winning best picture in 2017. The same Academy Awards we wanted to boycott because Black actors and actresses were not being acknowledged is the same one that recognized Black genius when we chose to create our own. I don’t mean to suggest that boycotting is inappropriate. I’m only saying that while we boycott we should be busy creating and in doing so, make those who we chose to separate from seek us out. That’s the lesson we should be learning. If we merely sit home and boycott it might bring down some unfriendly institutions but once that happens will we have built Black ones to cater to us? [caption id="attachment_4532" align="alignright" width="209"] Garner’s Garden Black owned Organic Body Wash[/caption] What could KweliTv do if it had 10 million subscribers? Today it has around 2,000 but we could double that in just a few hours. Moonlight won an Oscar with a mere $1.5 million budget. What could Black producers create if they had our backing and $50 million to produce a film? I for one am tired of asking the same questions and would like to see the answer. I’m subscribing to KweliTv. Not only that, I’ll keep washing my clothes with True detergent. I’ll continue to visit my Black owned car repair shop, on the South Side of Chicago. After I finish writing this piece I’ll shower with my Garner’s Garden (lemongrass) body wash. I’ll wash my face with foaming black soap and moisturize with jojoba oil, all from KJNaturals. I’ll wake up tomorrow and eat at amazing Black owned restaurants in my neighborhood. Before I swipe my debit card I’ll check my bank balance on my mobile app, provided by my Black owned bank. I’ll do all of this because I want self determination for Black people and that takes more than short term boycotts.  ]]>

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