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Netflix adds ‘Black Lives Matter’ collection, as platforms grapple with outdated racist content

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Netflix is promoting a new “Black Lives Matter” category in an effort to highlight “powerful and complex narratives about the Black experience.”

“When you log onto Netflix today, you will see a carefully curated list of titles that only begin to tell the complex and layered stories about racial injustice and Blackness in America,” the streaming giant tweeted Wednesday.

The collection promoted by the streamer includes everything from original programming such as Dear White People (the series), When They See Us, and Michelle Obama’s Becoming documentary to noteworthy films including Malcolm X, Moonlight, and She’s Gotta Have It.

The collection does not feature The Help, which went to number one as the streamer’s most-watched movie last week, amid global protests that broke out after George Floyd, a black man, died in police custody. The 2011 film, based on the 2009 book by Kathryn Stockett, has been criticized for its white savior narrative by everyone from critics to star Viola Davis.

“When we say ‘Black Lives Matter,’ we also mean ‘Black storytelling matters,’” Netflix tweeted.

Denzel Washington In 'Malcolm X'
Denzel Washington in a scene from Spike Lee’s “Malcolm X,” 1992. The film is among the titles promoted under the new “Black Lives Matter” collection on Netflix.
Largo International NV—Getty Images

Netflix isn’t alone in trying to elevate black stories at this time—films like Just Mercy and Selma are now available to rent for free this month. Music streamers like Spotify also adjusted their playlists in response to the protests.

Content providers are also removing or making adjustments to shows and movies that feature racist stereotypes. HBO Max has temporarily removed 1939’s Gone With the Wind from its catalogue, saying that when the film returns, it will feature “a discussion of its historical context.” (Similar moves have been done before—Disney+ included such disclaimers for films like Dumbo and Peter Pan when it launched, while DVD releases of Looney Tunes featured Whoopi Goldberg explaining the history of the prejudiced imagery seen in those cartoons.)

Meanwhile, Netflix has taken down four Chris Lilley comedy shows from its Australia and New Zealand platforms, and Little Britain has been taken down by the Netflix, BBC, and Britbox due to blackface sketches. Additionally, as public outrage continues over police misconduct, long-running series Cops has officially been canceled by Paramount Network.

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Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

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