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Netflix launches Black Lives Matter genre to its collection

Netflix launches Black Lives Matter genre to its collection

On Wednesday, Netflix announced the new genre will appear on its services globally as it seeks to “highlight powerful and complex narratives.” The move was made after the company also pulled a host of ‘racist’ shows from its platform. 

As the Black Lives Matter movement and protests continue into another week, Netflix have become the latest organisation to make more progressive strides in support of the protests. First, it came through the decision to axe several of its current shows for including racist jokes or skits. Amongst these shows getting the chop was David Walliams’ “Little Britain”, which sparked some anger amongst the public due to the shows long-lasting success. 

Two more shows, “The Mighty Boosh” and “League of Gentlemen,” were also removed from the site after containing scenes with the use of blackface. The BBC however, made the decision to only remove “Little Britain” from BBC iPlayer, keeping the two other controversial shows on the platform. 

However, Netflix maintained their “commitment to true systematic change,” and furthered it to promoting Black storytelling on their site. This came after a spike in viewership of the movie “The Help”, which tells the story of African American maids during the 1960s, and other movies centered around race relations. Although it was recently clarified by Bryce Dallas Howard, one of its starring actresses, that the movie was merely “told through the perspective of a white character and was created predominantly by white storytellers.” 

The content to be seen on the Black Lives Matter tab on Netflix therefore won’t include movies like “The Help” and will instead be a platform to promote the work of Black storytellers and to enlighten viewers further about racial injustice and systematic racism from their own narrative. They have expressed no desire for the genre to be temporary.

There are currently just over 45 shows and movies to therefore choose from in this collection about race relations and the African American experience. These include Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” (releasing June 12), Barry Jenkins’ Oscar-winning “Moonlight” and Michelle Obama’s “Becoming.”

Also, amongst the picks are Ava DuVernay’s “13th” and “When They See Us,” two compelling projects that seek to educate viewers on the United States’ criminal justice system and the racial injustice that is found ingrained within. Both are visually imposing and fundamental to understanding the history of race relations in America. 

Netflix was one of the first entertainment and media companies to announce their support for the Black Lives Matter movement two weeks ago after the death of George Floyd, which sparked nationwide protests in the United States. It is expected that more actions are to follow, as the movement and constant flow of support on social media doesn’t seem to be losing any momentum. 

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