BeyGOOD grant winner Kya Johnson used her grant to build a literary AR platform for kids.
The $10,000 grant was a way to support black owned businesses during the pandemic.
By all means Johnson was grateful.
“A lot was spent at the beginning of the year on marketing materials to prepare for events and book signings that were scheduled for the year…When all of that was shut down as a result of COVID-19, it made a huge hole in our marketing budget. This grant will definitely help to fill that hole.”
The fund supported attorney and founder Kya Johnson a program she launched in 2016 called RainbowMeKids. The platform aims to increase representation and diversity in children’s media. The platform created original shows and proper licenses for content incorporating main characters.
In fact, Johnson’s inspiration came from watching Disney’s Princess and The Frog. Pokemon Go also played a part.
As a result of the interest seen with packed out theaters of adults watching Princess and the frog, followed by the intense impact of augmented reality with Pokemon Go, Johnson knew combing the two for education would be a good idea.
“I thought it was the coolest thing ever and knew there was something that we could do with that.”
Soon after RainbowMe Kids’ launched it’s first book, O is For Oshun.
The book celebrates culture, global folklore, and fairy tale heroes and heroines of color.
Readers can utilize a smartphone to “bring the characters to life and hear stories with dialects from their region.”
In addition, the BeyGOOD grant , helped fund RainbowMe Kids’ second augmented reality book.
How Kofi Amero Became the Hero of Amero, which “is an adaptation of a Ghanaian folklore tale taking readers on Kofi’s transformative journey as the richest man in his village.”
Johnson has “big dreams for RainbowMe,” and this “attorney by day, CEO by night,” is definitely not content to rest on her laurels. She has future dreams of entering the metaverse to increase the accessibility of her platform. As Johnson told AfroTech, “I am excited to go beyond the boundaries [of] technology. There are ways to make the characters more interactive with the children.”
Exploring through the metaverse also interests Johnson. “There is going to be some introduction to the metaverse for the younger kids and I’m looking forward to being in that space of developing what that introduction looks like.”