In between breaks on the red carpet at the July 1 launch party of iElevate+ TV, a new Black LGBTQ+ on-demand live streaming platform, CEO OC Allen III emphasized that the time is now for a digital space to center Black LGBTQ+ content and storytellers.
A throng of supporters filed into "Book Boutique," a new Black-owned bookstore inside Atlantic Station to celebrate the beginning of an exciting era in Black LGBTQ+ entrepreneurship and collaboration. The event preceded the holiday weekend sneak peek that gave viewers a glimpse of the content Allen and his team have curated over the last six months—setting the stage for underrepresented Black LGBTQ+ content to be seen on a global stage to an underserved audience.
“There aren't many platforms that we own and run in terms of Black LGBTQI folks having spaces and tables that belong to them,” says Allen.
“A lot of our stories are being told, but not enough,” he says. “And there are content creators that wouldn't get the opportunity to be on Netflix, right? So where do they go?”
Along with Allen, Onyx Keesha, VP of Content and Production, is betting on iElevate+ TV to become the go-to home for talented Black filmmakers who need not only a platform to showcase their work but also an artistic environment that nurtures their gift.
“We really want to push the content creator and the filmmaker, to be a space where not only they can see themselves, but where we also have resources and we enhance their skill set,” says Keesha.
A focus on the storyteller is one facet of iElevate+ TV that Keesha and Allen believe will set them apart from the dozens of streaming services that are currently available.
“Content creators don't just need a place to let people hear their stories and their voices and experience their content, but there also needs to be a space where they are nurtured and developed,” says Allen.
Keesha expands on the idea in terms of iElevate+ TV as a space that welcomes the intersecting identities of Black LGBTQ+ people with bold and unique stories to tell.
“We don't have a place where we can be all of ourselves. We have to be segmented. We're not being segmented anymore,” she says. “We are going to be unapologetic and show up, not just in our sexuality or gender identity, but also in our Blackness. A lot of times in the media, when we see images of ourselves, they're not curated by us. They're not created by us and they don't tell the whole story of us.”
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