Black Sands Entertainment Has a Very Impressive Vision

Time published an article about the African-American-owned Black Sands Entertainment, which I’d written about earlier, and here’s the impressive part of their vision going forward:


In answering it, the company looks back in time to craft historical stories in which Africans and members of the African diaspora thrive. “No more slave stories. It’s time for kings,” says Manuel Godoy. “The media has their own idea of what’s appropriate Black history to talk about. Your kids need to know they had a great past. … A white kid grows up and he has all these people who came from nothing and became the emperor. What do Black people have, according to the American school system? It’s not a high standard for your life.”


He’s right about the problems with wider media’s idea of how to approach portrayals of black characters (and also schools), which is to focus far more on victimology visions than in pursuing destiny for a positive future. If anybody truly interested in entertainment value wanted to, they’d look to the African continent and how there’s countries like Cameroon who’ve become prosperous, and build ideas based on how they manage everything to develop adventure stories. The article also says:


Inspired by manga and anime in Korea and Japan, Manuel Godoy—himself a huge anime fan—has built his business’s relationship to its customers in a similar manner. “You’re not supposed to reach everyone. Don’t try to make something for 17 different audiences,” he advises aspiring startups. “In the West, everyone wants to be so big. In the East, a million hyperfans are more valuable than 20 million” casual users.

[…] The business now relies on a mix of organic and paid social media, with an online presence that speaks to the political and social moment. “He doesn’t sugarcoat things,” Geiszel Godoy says of her husband. “That plays a big part of his marketing.” Consider a Facebook post from June 2020 to promote a character the pair has been developing named Ineola, a Nigerian native trying to make her way in Brooklyn, New York, and fighting the opposition with humanity. “You ready for Ineola?” the post reads. “Black women deserve heroes that are not remade disney princesses or plug ins to comic universes … She from Brooklyn, and she ain’t gonna take your shit.”



On this, they may have a point in how you should first build up an audience based on what specific ingredients you mix into your product, and then try to convince more potential consumers why it’s worth it for them too. What ultimately destroyed mainstream USA comics is that, by modern standards, they’re making the severe mistake of – what else? – trying to please everyone, but in the end, all they care about is politically driven drivel. And it may be better not to use Disney princesses as a template. Certainly not with the way the whole company’s been going lately. But the talk of political/social movements is just why there could still be a mistake in the making. And then:


In the eternal battle of DC vs. Marvel, both comics companies have lately found common ground on one thing: the need to diversify their creators, characters, and audiences. In a television premiere last week, the Disney-owned Marvel reimagined the blonde Ms. Marvel into a Pakistani-American teen named Kamala Khan. And there are multiple projects in development devoted to “Black Superman,” a new take on the most popular superhero from DC Comics, a subsidiary of Warner Bros. Discovery.

The Godoys are different: Diversity isn’t an afterthought or business strategy for their company. It is the company. They also remain laser-focused on retaining intellectual property for their work. Asked about whether he admires DC or Marvel more, Manuel Godoy steers the conversation to his own hero: George Lucas, whose Star Wars and Indiana Jones franchises were bought by Disney a decade ago. “I always look at him for holding onto the rights for things,” he says. “Because he did that, 40 years later, he gets bought out for billions.”


Now, if the Godoys are retaining their intellectual properties, that’s good, but what the guy says is dampened when he points out how Lucas was bought out for a fortune, and look how the 3rd trilogy of movies turned out in the end, laced as they were with absurd leftist political elements. Even Lucas himself was critical of Kathleen Kennedy for spoiling the franchise, surprisingly enough. Is Godoy implying he’d like to follow suit? I’d strongly advise against it. Disney didn’t buy it out because they wanted to thank him and honor his work, as the finished products under their stewardship ought to make clear by now. And who knows? Recalling a previous report hinted they had PC positions, that’s why the talk of diversity as a structure for Black Sands is reason to worry. Also, Warner Bros may be coming off the PC pandering they were recently said to be taking with Superman (we must certainly hope), so this article is a bit out of the loop.


This philosophy—with the tenets of retaining ownership, centering the history and experience of Black people, and staying original—guides Black Sands. “We don’t want to compete with Marvel and DC,” says Manuel Godoy. “We want to tell stories people haven’t seen before.”


And that’s a good strategy. Considering how bad Marvel/DC have become since the early 2000s, that’s exactly why it doesn’t pay to be like them anymore. But if they adhere to any political correctness when it comes to diversity, they’ll be making a mistake. Particularly if they just publish their comics for the sake of moviemaking, and if they sell their business years later to a conglomerate, that’ll compound any mistakes already made in business. As recent history makes clear, there’s no point in selling one’s creations to corporations anymore, and shared universes like Marvel/DC’s shouldn’t be under such ownership either.


All that’s led to is corruption.



Originally published here.

Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1