Media has long shaped our perception of the world, often to the detriment of people of African descent. With the explosion of projects by independent filmmakers in recent years and new ways to circumvent mainstream avenues of distribution, finding holistic and educational African-centered programming has become less of a challenge.
Since its 2014 inception, kweliTV has counted among the pioneers in this space, providing a platform for creators of positive, holistic independent African-centered media to showcase their work. The name of this media program derives from the Swahili word Kweli (Kwah – lee), which means “truth.”
Upon securing a $20,000 grant, journalist DeShuna Spencer launched kweliTV from her suburban D.C. home. More than a year later, subscribers can glean through hundreds of quality black-produced documentaries, films, and web-based shows, including the Hidden Colors series, a gem in the worldwide conscious community. Contrary to popular belief, not every movie submitted to Spencer makes it on the site. Indeed, she spends hours on end watching each entry in its entirety to see if it fits specific criterion, including the presence of a complex plot.
In this AllEyesOnDC video, Spencer and AllEyesOnDC host Sam P.K. Collins chat about kweliTV’s humble beginnings and projects in the works before exploring why it’s important that people of African descent create and support films that accurately portray the complexity of their lives and heritage. SPOILER ALERT: This clip speaks to the need for Africans worldwide to African-centered institutions and shift away from asking others for their approval.