Is This Streaming Service Really The Black Netflix?

Photo: AIP/REX/Shutterstock
Bounce TV just launched a new on-demand streaming service called Brown Sugar, that specializes in Black films. The service operates much like Netflix: subscribers pay a monthly fee of $3.99 for unlimited access to Brown Sugar’s library of films. In fact their trailer says that they’re “just like Netflix, but Blacker.”

It’s a pretty cool concept. But the selection of available films leaves much to be a desired from a platform that truly aims to be the Black Netflix. Most of the films featured are from the blaxploitation era where Black leads were caught in a catch-22 of finally appearing as heroes and main characters, but embodying harmful stereotypes in the process. The likes of Pam Grier (who is an ambassador for Brown Sugar) and Richard Roundtree got their starts in the blaxploitation genre. These films are a painful reminder of the road Black actors had to forge toward a more diverse Hollywood. Though, that didn’t diminish the popularity of these films among Black and non-Black audiences.

So it’s worth noting that I might be able to get behind this if the promo and marketing weren’t so tragically corny. The official trailer looks like a promo reel for a straight to DVD movie in the Walmart 88-cent bin. True to theme, they summoned one of the greasiest (greasy in a shiny shirt, too much product in his beard, and not very nice to women kind of way) rappers, they could find, Rick Ross, to promote the video-on-demand service. They’ve also organized the film into “categories” that include “Foxy Mamas” and “Jive Ass Turkeys.” How am I supposed to watch the movies if I can’t stop rolling my eyes?!

I’ll be keeping an eye out for the new titles that will be added to their collection over the next few months. I wonder how long it’ll be before they can afford to produce original Black films like “Meet the Blacks” or “Almost Christmas”?

You can check out the site and the trailer here.
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