Black children deserve the fullness and luxury of seeing themselves represented across the board. Through literature, television, or in classrooms, seeing possible futures that invoke excellence from Black youth is infinitely important. This is the predominant force behind the concept of Afro-futurism. Afro-futurism is the merging of science and technology with vivid philosophies of what the future holds for African diasporic people. The empowerment of young people then allows us, in turn, to reimagine a world with all versions of ourselves protected and validated.
Lupita Nyong’o has been deeply invested in making young children feel strong and comfortable in their own skin with her heartfelt children’s book “Sulwe“, and with her portrayal of characters such as Nakia in Marvel’s Black Panther. Now, she has taken on another project that will change the game for younger generations coming up now.
YouTube Kids’ new dynamic series Super Sema is about an inventive young girl, Sema, who fearlessly engages in different scenarios in her town of Dunia. Set in an Afro-Futuristic world, Sema, her twin brother MB and their peers work together through flexing their creative muscles and utilizing STEM to prevent the wily schemes of the town’s villain Tobor. The kids tackle themes like virtual reality, recycling, and being brave in the face of adversity. “Super Sema is the type of show I wish I had growing up,” Nyong’o tells EBONY. “Sema is Kenyan, she’s smart and my hope is that younger generations can see this and learn new things in a fun way without feeling the direct pressure to learn.”
In conjunction with Kukua, an education entertainment company, the award-winning actress proudly serves as executive producer of this series while also voicing Sema’s mother. Even more impressive, Kukua is an all female lead team leading the charge behind this stellar show.
“In America, it seems abnormal for there to be teams solely consisting of women however in other parts of the world, it is the standard,” says Nyong’o.
There have been significant strides to push Black youth to gain interest and thrive in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics over the past two decades. However, there is still work to be done. As STEM roles are some of the highest-earning positions in the United States’ job force, Black people are still widely underrepresented in this field. With the introduction of Super Sema to younger audiences, the charge is that the show will inspire limitless opportunities for creativity and invention within the space.
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Savannah M. Taylor is a native of Springfield, MA, and a graduate of Syracuse University where she received her Bachelor of Arts degree in African American Studies with a minor in Communication & Rhetorical Studies. Some of her many passions include storytelling through various mediums and bringing awareness to Black history and culture through the advocacy of the Black diasporic community. These passions led her to start her own initiative called The Silhouette Brand, a platform to provide access to resources, opportunity, and exposure for people across the African diaspora.