Yesha Callahan

Netflix Basically Owes Us An All-Black Series

Remember how we just talked about the black influence and the non-black corporations that profit off of it? We were remiss not to include a special mention of Netflix, the on-demand Internet streaming service that it’s now impossible to mention without adding “and chill” after its name. And you know why? Black people.

Sure, Netflix was popular long before “Netflix and Chill” memes took over social media and Google search suggestions earlier this summer, but let’s be honest, no one is talking about “Hulu and chill” or “HBO Go and chill.” Black people brought an unprecedented amount of attention to this particular streaming service with a catchphrase that mainstream America, of course, was all too eager to adopt as well. And if there was a way to capture the monetary gain attributed to Netflix from the free promotion we gave them we’re sure the numbers would be astronomical. Which is why we want some retribution: Give us an all-black Netflix series, dammit.

Over the past few years Netflix original series have taken off. Next year, the streaming service is expected to double its number of original scripted shows. And while Netflix has been quick to add diversity with series like Master of None starring Aziz Ansari, the show has already been criticized for its use of white love interests for the east Asian lead. Meanwhile, we’re still over here like, what about us?

Yes, we appreciate the diversity of Orange is the New Black, and everyone knows it’s the black girls that make the show so interesting, but why not at least, in the name of good business, capitalize on the demographic that actually makes watching Netflix an event and offer up an original show relevant to their daily lives? There’s no shortage of criticism for the dramas with black leads currently on television which we’re grateful for but still find fault with for a number of reasons. If Netflix were smart, they’d take note of the viewers’ disgust that a lot of the lead black women on the small screen are mistresses or the questions offered up about why they all end up with white men and give one of its biggest consumers what they want — and hire someone who knows how to give it to them? May we suggest Ava DuVernay? Issa Rae?

Netflix has already racked up a long line of racist claims in its short history. An all-black series is not just smart money but smart PR. Except there’s that little problem that black people don’t seem to mind the allegations against the company and still choose to Netflix and chill without opting for no boo’d up relaxation without representation so the motivation to please us from there end is slim to none. And while we do appreciate the black shows the service has sense enough to license (Hey A Different World), it’s a shame that in the midst of developing 10 new feature films, 30 kids’ shows, 12 documentaries, and 10 stand-up specials for 2016, there’s still nothing exclusively for its biggest promoter. Come on Netflix, you owe us.

  1. December 9, 2015 - Reply

    What irks me the most about Netflix is their suspect recommendations:

    “Based on your viewing of Cry the Beloved Country, you’ll love ‘Soul Plane'”

    • December 9, 2015 - Reply

      @i mean

      not just that but you watch one “black movie” all of sudden thats all the recommendations as popular and you know damn well a bunch of people didnt recommend and watch (insert any number of low budget black cast films)

      • December 9, 2015 - Reply


        And the movies are usually terrible

        • December 9, 2015 - Reply


          Sometimes they are pretty good. Just need to either watch the first few minutes or read a review of them before hand. But, many times the black movies are right off of TVOne, Centic or BET.

    • December 9, 2015 - Reply

      @i mean

      Cracking up!

  2. December 9, 2015 - Reply

    All I know is that me and the wife sat up and binged watched 4 black movies this weekend on Netflix.

    1) The Love Letter (2013)
    2) The Dempsey Sisters (2013)
    3) Christmas Wedding Baby (2014)
    4) Marry Me for Christmas (2013)

    I would be all over a black Netflix series.

    • December 9, 2015 - Reply


      That’s a lot of movies, Brad. Hope you had mad popcorn. 🙂

      • December 9, 2015 - Reply


        Yea and take out from red lobster, I tell you being married to me is one big roller coaster 🙂

        • December 10, 2015 - Reply


          ? ??

        • December 10, 2015 - Reply


          Aren’t those cheese biscuits the best?!

          • December 10, 2015 - Reply


            Ha, yes they are…

  3. December 9, 2015 - Reply

    I have no qualms about an all black series in Netflix. Also, long terms, we have to own and control our own stories. The best people qualified to outline movies that fairly describe our experiences or even describe stories related to science fiction, etc. (that involve black people) are us as black people. Netflix represents many things to many people. We went from a few channel to internet television channels in less than 45 years. So, we have to control to voice our issues and use technology that can show our story. Our stories matter as Black Lives Matter.

  4. December 9, 2015 - Reply

    Netflix owes us nothing. If we continue to be so blind, foolish, and dare I say stupid to keep giving away our creativity and effort to those who look at us like second class fools then we deserve their disdain. STOP begging other people to do what you can do for yourself.

    Buy cameras; learn how to write, produce, film and distribute. If you don’t want to pay for traditional classes they are all available for free on the internet. Pool resources, find like minded people to take on the tasks you are not inclined to. The time for this bowing and scraping mess is at an end.

  5. December 9, 2015 - Reply

    Begging for inclusion almost always ends up being disastrous. I guess we’ll never learn. I agree Netflix owes us nothing.

  6. December 9, 2015 - Reply

    No, Netflix doesn’t owe us an all-Black series. It’d be nice one if they made one but they don’t owe Negroes nada.

    It’d be much better if Black people made their own Netflix equivalent and quality series. And it is possible. A Cameroonian guy with no tech background started Afrostream, got some capital money through pre-subscription and now his company is running and has partnership with big time French companies and American content producers, a Nigerian by the name of Jason Njoku started Iroko TV, there’s Kweli TV.

    So, instead waiting for Netflix to produce an all-black series I’d rather see people of African descent produce their own content and create channels.

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