Thanks to Netflix, people are talking about the first time they saw themselves on television
The #FirstTimeISawMe awareness campaign started with celebrities and has expanded to spark conversation around diversity
Representation of diverse characters in television has evolved, but it still has a long way to go. Netflix furthers the conversation by exploring the history and relevance of real people and their nostalgia about seeing characters that look like them reflected on film in its new campaign #FirstTimeISawMe.
The awareness campaign is centered on diversity and inclusion, and it involves a call to action for creators and influencers to continue the conception of characters who represent a vast number of men, women, boys and girls. It also sparks a wider dialogue on race, gender and sexuality.
Directors Spike Lee and Ava DuVernay, actors and prominent individuals share their stories detailing the first time someone reminded them of what or who they could become. The campaign is composed of short yet powerful films.
“The Cosby Show was a show that I saw people who were the same hue as me, but my father wasn’t a doctor and my mother wasn’t a lawyer,” DuVernay said. “The last 10 years is when I’ve seen more representations that feel like folks in my real life behaving in a way that feels familiar to me. What we’re seeing now that’s so beautiful in this renaissance of television and film is a centering of folks who have so often been in the margins.”
Netflix launched the campaign on Aug. 1, sharing the information in a collection of stories, interviews and tweets. The first video appeared on Netflix’s Facebook page and featured Krissy, who saw herself in Netflix’s One Day at a Time as it portrayed a representation of Latino and Cuban culture.
The lineup includes Netflix original show actors such as Logan Browning (Dear White People), Selenis Leyva (Orange Is the New Black), Marlon Wayans and others.
“The first time I saw myself on TV was watching Sister Sister, That’s So Raven, Moesha,” said Browning, who plays Sam White on Dear White People. “Representation in television and film is important because we have to evolve with the times.”
Conversations involving diversity and inclusion on television and on the big screen have been thrust into the forefront for the past two years with hashtags such as #OscarsSoWhite.
Watching my greatest inspiration @IAmCicelyTyson in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. #FirstTimeISawMe pic.twitter.com/hh0OgRU0UH
— Viola Davis (@violadavis) August 1, 2017