Film Forward

People Of Color Are Tweeting About The #FirstTimeISawMe On TV, Showing How Powerful And Necessary Representation Is

Even Viola Davis chimed in.

Everyone likes to see themselves reflected in media — be it TV, music, movies, books, or magazines — but not everyone sees themselves all that often. Netflix teamed up with Black Girl Nerds and HuffPost's Black Voices for an important #FirstTimeISawMe campaign, which includes both people in Hollywood as well as average folks discussing the first time they felt represented on the big or small screen.


"Seeing someone that looks like you and deals with similar things that you have to deal with is powerful because you inevitably feel like you can conquer your issues once you see someone else on-screen do it first," Myles Worthington, a spokesperson for Netflix, said in an email (via Upworthy). "We don't have advertisers to think of, or specific time slots to consider, or a cap on the amount of shows we can create. If we uncover a unique story that we think our members will enjoy, we can bring it to life."

The online streaming site gathered some of its creators and stars of color — from storytellers such as Ava DuVernay and Spike Lee to Orange Is the New Black and Dear White People stars — to discuss the moment they felt reflected in media.

BGN and Black Voices also took part in the video series, providing insight into how the typical consumer of media felt the first time they felt seen.

The best part about this, though, is that there was also a social media campaign that has been blowing up Twitter with the hashtag #FirstTimeISawMe. It has had some pretty incredible and moving stories from users about their relationship with media — both film and TV.

The online campaign even caught the eye of a beloved A-lister, too.

Hopefully with big companies such as Netflix getting this dialogue started — and doing so with the right groups — this will lead to conversations in which people from all walks of life can come together and talk about how important representation is for them. It goes to show that TV and movies are more than just something you watch — they're also a big part of you.

The ways we watch TV and movies have evolved, and it's time for the talent in front of and behind the camera to do the same. Film Forward speaks on the initiatives to diversify the film industry and the stories it tells. New articles premiere every second Thursday of — and throughout — the month.


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