“Super Sema,” a new YouTube kids original program for children, premieres on March 8, 2021. The animated series features a Black superhero, who happens to be a 10-year-old young girl. STEAM fuels Sema’s powers — science, technology, engineering, art, and math, reports Entertainment Weekly on Feb. 22.
She is Africa’s heroine. Sema and her family live in the “neo-Africa-futuristic community of Dunia.” Sema uses STEAM to protect Dunia from Tabor, a heartless uber-villain robot, and his army of pesky robots, the Bongalalas.
The kid-heroes live with their grandpa, Babu. He is described as an affectionate, wise storyteller who had zero tech skills. He is known to push a button and accidentally mess up the kid’s creations. Babu always blames it on Moyo, super Sema’s pet goat.
Super Sema uses her “technovating” skills in a Secret Lab to whip up whatever she and MB can use to aid their community. The “Super Sema” website explains:
Lynne Southerland states she is one of the first Black female directors in animation. She and her female-led team produce the series Kakau in Kenya. They use local talent for the “Super Sema” character’s voices.
Kakau Chief Communications Officer and “Super Sema” Executive Producer Vanessa Ford is passionate about bringing long-needed Black role models to children’s programming.
Adding the STEAM factor and having the main character, a 10-year-old girl whose name is Swahili, for “speak up” will increase its positivity impact.
“At Kukua, we’re building a company where we can take risks, have total creative freedom, and change the way we make content for kids from the inside out,” explains Ford.
The “Super Sema” website offers STEM experiments, DIY crafts, and printables for children. Each download has simple instructions, an ingredient list, and a helpful tutorial video designed to spark a kid’s imagination.
Under the “Watch” dropdown menu parents will find “Supa Kids,” a collection of videos of “Inspiring Stories of Super African Kids.” “Super Sema” introduces each video saying she knows all children are special.
Currently, there are three videos: “Meet Jannelle from East Africa’s Got Talent” a 9-year-old with a beautiful singing voice, “Meet Seth – A Video Editor, Coder & Entrepreneur” a 12-year-old who in 2016 taught himself to edit videos using those he found on YouTube. The third is “Meet Tiana – A Creative Little Chef” an 8-year-old who not only loves to cook, she does “it with passion!”
The website also offers three apps: Sema Run, Sema Goal, and Sema trace. They are available at Google Play Store and the Apple App Store. One of the WIRED reviews:
Forget Candy Crush, Sema is an app that will teach millions of African children to read!
On March 8, eight episodes will premiere on YouTube for Kids “Super Sema” channel. The first season consists of 20 five-minute episodes.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
Entertainment Weekly: Watch the extremely catchy opening for YouTube’s new animated Black superhero series; by Jethro Nededog
Los Angeles Times: YouTube doubles down on kids programs with nine new shows this year; by Wendy Lee
Super Sema Website