Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Kya Johnson
Check Out The Interactive Kids Platform That Features Characters Of Color From All Over The World
Representation is everything today. It’s important for not only adults to see people who look like them, but it’s especially important for little Black and brown children.
Attorney Kya Johnson, of Greensboro, NC, has set out to do just that. The attorney, creator, and now author is living out a dream that she realized back in Middle School. Through her brand RainbowMe Kids, Kya is hoping to give children of color positive images of themselves.
We spoke with her to learn more about the RainbowMe Kids brand and their latest release.
Travel Noire: What inspired you to create RainbowMe and when was it born?
Kya: The idea for RainbowMe was born out of a want to try to reach as many kids as I possibly could. How could I get positive images of people of color to kids of color that kids could see and have readily accessible?
In 2012, a study came out about the dearth of diverse characters and diverse fictional characters in children’s literature and the negative impact that had on children. So, a switch to an entertainment platform came after that revelation. I wanted to create a platform, that kids of color could see positive images of themselves, in their entertainment choices, all in one place. So the idea for RainbowMe was put on paper in 2012, we had an Indiegogo Campaign in 2015, and launched the online platform in 2016. We have been grinding ever since to continue to build this space that focuses on positive entertainment for kids that features main characters of color.
TN: What does the brand focus on?
Kya: RainbowMe Kids is the #1 destination for positive children’s entertainment that features main characters of color. Our goal is to engage, inform, and inspire kids ages 2-12 with entertaining content, while increasing their understanding of social, economic, cultural and ethnic nuances.
TN: Tell me about your latest release.
Kya: “O is for Oshun” is the first augmented reality children’s book that features culturally diverse fairytale and folktale characters. The book introduces kids (and kids at heart) to characters from A-Z from countries that include Nigeria, Brazil, Mexico, Iraq, and many more in a fun and simple way.
Once you have the book, through the magic of augmented reality, just wave your phone or other device over each character with our app, and each character comes to life! Each character tells a little bit about themselves and where their story originates. “O is For Oshun” features 26 RainbowMe original characters from A-Z.
TN: Why is it important for Black and brown kids to have a platform like this?
Kya: There is a saying that “if you can see it, you can be it.” Well, what happens when kids don’t see it? What impact does that have? There was recently a huge uproar about a certain mermaid being played by a talented singer and actress who happens to be black. Part of the reason for the uproar was, that it was difficult for people to imagine a mermaid of color, it wasn’t something that had been “seen” before.
It is important that black and brown kids see positive images of themselves so they too are able to “imagine” themselves as these mermaids, princesses, etc. It helps with self-esteem, self-limiting behaviors, and imagination. Imagination fuels ingenuity. Just as important, is people in general seeing these images as well. Doing so helps to dispel stereotypes.
TN: What’s next for RainbowMe Kids?
Kya: We are launching a podcast starting August 5, 2019 called “RainbowMe Kids Presents: Folk Fairytales.” The podcast features lively bedtime stories narrated by a handful of the characters in “O is for Oshun”. The characters provide their own backstories. The podcast can be heard on our site, RainbowMekids.com, as well as iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, Stitcher, and Blubrry.
TN: Where can we find you all online?
Kya: Our website is www.rainbowmekids.com, and we are @rainbowmekids on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.