When KingMan was younger we always had the same debate in the toy aisle. He wanted the white super hero, but I wanted him to have the Black super hero. I understood why he wanted Goku - it was what he saw on television. I also understood why he wanted John Cena, instead of Kofi Kingston. But for me it was the principle. So the compromise was I bought both. It was important to me to that he had super heroes who looked like him too. After I watched a film called The White Man's Burden, I knew I was right.
|Nkosi ~ The Noble Fire|
While visiting the vendors at a Rites of Passage graduation I noticed someone holding a super hero coloring and activity book featuring images of Black people. I had to have one. I searched until I found the creator of Umoja Force, Akinseye Brown. He was packing up and couldn't take my payment, but gifted me with the book anyway. I am so grateful he did. Umoja Force Heroes for Unity is a coloring and activity book that introduces four Black Super Heroes. I love it!
|Nisir ~ The Quantum Eagle|
Unlike many comic books, which feature the tired old story of the villain, the good guys and the bad guys with the predictable ending, Umoja Force has a message of unity. Throughout the activity guide you find references to ancient wisdom and how to recognize forces that exist to create confusion and disunity. I sat down and read the entire story to LionHeart. He loved it. Because it is a coloring and activity guide, he'll get a chance to re-read it and meditate on the message as he colors and completes the activities. Coloring is a form of meditation; why not focus on something positive!
“The most important thing that Black Superheroes do is help African people to see themselves as powerful and beautiful,” says comic book creator Akinseye Brown. I could not agree more. Brown is the creator and owner of Sokoya Productions, which publishes Umoja Force. Founded in 2006, his work includes Vejo Capoeira, Umoja Force, Sannkofamaan, and Dara Brown: 1996. His most popular work, How To Draw Afrakan Superheroes won a Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
Brown calls his work African science fiction. “It is simply good storytelling whose narrative uses elements of technology, science, spirituality, fantasy and mystery, to connect and reconnect the reader/audience with their African culture through past, present and future.” But more than that, Brown aims for his work to have a larger goal. “If people see themselves as s/heroes, they then begin to act as someone who is responsible for bringing good to the world.” God knows we need more people who think like that!
Brown has a large body of amazing work, including a series that teaches young people who to draw Black comics. You can see more of Brown’s comics and his incredible art work at his website: www.sokoyaprod.com