Netflix #FirstTimeISawMe | Do You See Yourself Represented in the Media? Tuesday 08 August, 2017

When was the first time I saw me in media? I think this is an awesome question, as honestly the first time I thought I saw myself was in the Disney’s The Little Mermaid and I thought I was a mermaid for a long time (I lowkey still do). Little mermaid was a cartoon and honestly not even human so I guess I will answer this question honestly. As young black girl growing up in the 90s, I can honestly say I saw a lot of myself on TV! It was an exciting decade of diversity as there were a plethora of shows that had African Americans as the leading people of the show. Even children. So the first time I saw me on TV, ironically it was Olivia from The Cosby Show. I know most people would say Rudy, but Raven was around 4-5 years old when she debuted on the show, and so was I!

Olivia (The Cosby Show)

#FirstTimeISawMe was through Olivia (Raven-Symone) on The Cosby Show

I didn’t know at the time that both she and I were both African American little girls. I just knew she was a young girl, with similar hair and skin color as me and the same age. Raven-Symone was fourthe first time literally saw myself on television at the young tender age of four and so happy I was exposed to seeing myself represented so young. I also saw myself in Stephanie Tanner (Full House) because we were both middle children with spunky personalities. But it was important for me to see Olivia. It was important for me to see other young girls as I got a bit older from the Laura Winslows, Ashley Banks and Lisa Turtles – clearly I wanted to be a teen in my prime in the 90s…I wasnt!

Troy (Crooklyn Movie)

Crookyln (1994)

Movies was another story, I really didn’t see myself on the Big Screen as far as my age group until I was 9 and the movie Crookyln came out! Troy protrayed a young black girl growing up in Brookyln in the 70s, but she was the same age as me whe the film debuted. It is one of my favorite movies still till this day. Spike Lee was brilliant as bringing one of the first African American pre-teen protaganist to the screen and letting her tell her perspective on life. She was me on so many level. It was amazing to see a young girl like me in a movie and I can’t watch this move over and over and relate to her little mannerism as my own when I was that age.

Eve (Eve’s Bayou Movie)

Jurnee Smollett in Eve’s Bayou (1997)

I did not get a chance to see myself in a movie again for another 3 years later in my next favorite movie of all time, Eves Bayou. Jurnee Smolett played Eve and everyone literally said I looked like her my whole life! We both are the same age, I met her a few years ago and we still do look alike. I am so happy she is doing well and the star of her own show on Underground these days! Honestly doing this self reflection of #FirstTimeISawMe I am realizing in the 90s, I didn’t see myself in movies enough. I wonder why that was. And to answer your question, no there were not many movies (and not even today) that represented young African American black girl stories from her little perspective nor many targeted to that particular age group. Hopefully that can change!

This #FirstTimeISeenMe campaign is a question the famous streaming platform Netflix created. They interviewed Netflix actors,actresses and directors of ethnic background to do video testimonials explaining from their point of view when was the first time they seen representation of themselves in media. Logan Browning’s video the most because we grew up in the same era. She expresses she saw representations of herself through shows like Sister Sister, Moesha and That’s So Raven which were all shows I also grew up on as well. To see young teen black girls on television and positive was exciting in the 90s and 00s as I was a young girl and teen and now that I think about it, gave me a confident boost that I can grow up and be a good girl (all of the teen actress portrayed good girl examples of teens) and be even a little goofy. They were relatable and I am really blessed to have grew up in an era with a plethora of other young actresses and even young adult actress that I was proud to look up to and to see myself on the little screen.

NETFLIX TALENT VIDEOS:

Ava DuVernay — Director of 13th Jackie Cruz — Flaca in Orange is the New Black Marque Richardson — Reggie in Dear White People Selenis Leyva — Gloria in Orange is the New Black Spike Lee — Director of She’s Gotta Have It Logan Browning — Sam White in Dear White People
Marlon Wayans — Rob Anderson in Naked

Click on the celebs names to see their personalized #FirstTimeISawMe testimonial videos!

The word inclusive is a cool buzzword being use today to show more diversity of people of other shades and ethic backgrounds in all different walks of life from work to media. I think media does need to continue to have inclusive shows with people of other ethnic backgrounds as the stars of shows and not just a sidekick. It is important that people of all genders and races can see themselves effectively through each decade. Its a new world and television and film are still great ways for people to be inspired to see themselves in relatable aspects.

Nerflix’s Orange is the New Black – one of the most inclusive television shows out!

Media is also responsible for not only letting people of the same cultural background to see themselves, but for other people of another ethnic background to enjoy the show and even feel like they can relate to that character as well even if they do not share the same skin color. People should be able to watch movies and tv shows without feeling like they aren’t included in the world when they are. It also need to be more of a world where the skin color of someone shouldn’t dictate why you wont watch a show.  Watch a show/movie for a storyline or you never know how much you really might enjoy it otherwise! Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black is one of the most inclusive shows in the world right now, where mostly ever racial background is represented and it makes people learn other cultures, background and perspectives. It’s a beautiful show for doing that!

Netflix is creating over 1,000 hours of original content this year alone (Dear White People, Chewing Gum, She’s Gotta Have It, Orange is the New Black, etc.), which means, they are producing unique, layered and intersectional stories that shed a light on so many diverse walks of life.

What do you think of Netflix’s #FirstTimeISawMe Initiative?

About the Blogger - Kiwi the Beauty


I am a not so typical, unstereotypical 20something year old lady who is trying to make my mark on this planet. This blog has many aspect through my visual perspective through photos, words & wittiness. I am highly creative, I love to socialize, and also a social media butterfly. I don’t follow trends, I create them.


28 Comments

  • Stacie says:

    This is so amazing, and it really hits home to me just how much I take not being a minority for granted. The first time I saw me in the media was as young as I can remember. There has never been a shortage of white people – both men and women.

  • Bill Sweeney says:

    This is a great movement. For a white guy like me, I’ve never had trouble identifying with characters in television and film. This is a real eye opener.

  • Pam says:

    Representation is so important. I can really get behind this movement from Netflix’s.

  • Liz Mays says:

    These are some awesome examples of representation in Netflix movies and shows. My daughter has been watching “Chewing Gum” lately!

  • Brianne says:

    What a great campaign and support it 100%! Netflix is really killing it this season with their shows. I love them all!

  • Catherine Sargent says:

    This is such a wonderful initiative! Several of my friends have told me I need to watch Orange is the new Black.

  • Netflix is so well run and is taking over and deserves to have great reviews. I am a big Orange is the New Black fan but I watch everything on Netflix.

  • Ashleigh says:

    Ohemgee I LOOOOOVE Crooklyn and Eve’s Bayou, two of my childhood favorites. I love Netflix’s #FirstTimeISawMe because it’s so interesting to hear the differences answers and also see other’s responses on Twitter.

  • Kim says:

    I like the sound of this Netflix campaign. This is my first time hearing about it too. I am going to have to take more time to look at everyone else’s responses.

  • I’ve related to so many people in tv shows and movies and I think it’s nice that they’re starting this campaign about seeing ourselves through what’s usually shown in the main stream media. It’s a great way to open a person’s eyes and help them analyze themselves. Maybe even gain confidence from it or realizing what they need to improve on.

  • Elle (CleverlyChanging) says:

    A few weeks ago, I was at a museum and one of my friends daughters told me about why she loved the movie “Hidden Figures” She said, “The people in the movie were just like me.” I loved it. In that moment I knew I had to make sure my daughters were exposed to people who looked just like them too. We can change the narrative of the future into a more positive one.

  • Eva says:

    The first time I saw myself was in Vanessa/Rudy on the Cosby show. My mom was a doctor, dad a lawyer, and we are black, so seeing that on a hit TV show really was amazing for me.

  • I love this post! I had so many memories reading this. The Little Mermaid is still my favorite Disney movie. I actually got to see the play last week. Troy in Crooklyn!!! Sometimes I go to the black movie section on Netflix to see “me”.

  • Great read! The first time I saw me would’ve been shows like family matters, and sister sister. I really see me in shows like Insecure, OITNB, Milk and Honey, Black ish. For a moment there was no representation of me, but now we are everywhere and I love it!

  • kristin says:

    This was so much fun!! I totally need to get into some new shows!

  • Kristi says:

    This is so important not only in shows and movies but in advertising and toys as well. I recall trying to find a doll for a friend’s little girl. It was a frustrating process to find a doll that looked like her. Glad to see Netflix has this important campaign.

  • Amanda says:

    I’m a Netflix and chill kind of date. My husband and I love watching these shows. We not only enjoy watching shows that show AA in such a great way, but being able to let our children see some of them as well. The beauty if Netflix is the option to watch British TV to American and fall in love with them.

  • Tiffany H. says:

    I love Next flix, don’t have a an account right now but this reminds me I need to join again. This a great campaign. You took me down memory lane was some of the movies. I loved the Cosby show and still do. I must admit, I have never see Crooklyn. I haven’t heard of any of the new shows you mentioned but they look great.

  • Mimi Green says:

    I’m a proud Netflix customer and I like the first time I saw me campaign. The first time I saw me was in Moesha. Although I watched the Cosby Show and A Different World, I didn’t see me.

    I love that Netflix has a lot of brown shows where I can always see me. I also loved Penny Proud from the Proud Family Cartoon.

  • Chei Pangan says:

    Not yet a Netflix subscriber but hope to be one soon. First thing I’ll do is to watch this shows.

  • Ebony says:

    As a kid i truly thought i was Olivia from the cosby show lol. These shows have so much history behind them.

  • Toni says:

    I think it’s a beautiful thing that finally we are getting more shows that showcase us! And not just on Netflix, but other big name networks as well. It has been a long time and I am here for it!

  • Ola says:

    I have to say I love this initiative. The hashtag is SO smart.

  • Sabrina says:

    This post made miss the 90’s.. I dreamed of becoming Maxine Shaw attorney at law! I am not sure if I ever thought “she looks like me” but it was great to see women that looked like me that I could dream to be…

  • Our Family World says:

    This was a good read for me today. It made me think back to the time that a certain character on tv or film reminded me of myself and my struggles. I see myself as Mulan, a strong fearless woman ready to take on a whole army but deep inside I am just the opposite. The movie soundtrack rings true in my head..”When will my reflection show who I am inside?”

  • Adeola says:

    I love the campaign and felt very sad also seeing how very monolithic our representation is still is on tv.
    I love the new diversity on Netflix very much.

  • Myrah Duque says:

    Loving the diversity!

  • If I had to consider this, #FirstTimeISawMe was probably Laura Winslow from Family Matters.


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