The lack of diversity in Hollywood is not just limited to the Oscars and adults. Children of color are not represented in programming and their favorite cartoons too! Nigerian Animator, Adamu Waziri is changing the social norm of black and brown representation in the media with The Bino and Fino Show.
#Oscarssowhite has become this years’ biggest headline and trending topic. Over time, many people have expressed their outrage about the lack of black inclusion in film and Hollywood as it pertains to roles, pay equality and recognition. The Academy sealed the deal by not nominating any person of color for their awards ceremony—again. African-Americans, Latinas and Asians were completely ignored by Hollywood. This time, people are actually voicing their outrage and even boycotting the awards show. If the lack of inclusion in film affects adults so strongly, imagine how kids feel about the lack of diversity in their shows?
Honestly, children of color (Black, Latina, Asian and others) are not represented in the media they consume on an everyday basis. With the exception of Doc McStuffin and Dora the Explorer, the majority of children’s animations are also an exclusive club with serious diversity problems. Quite frankly people of color are more represented as voice-overs for cartoon animals than actual visual characters. The Lion King, Madagascar and the Little Mermaid had great diverse ensembles but couldn’t we also just be represented as human beings in cartoons not just lions, zebras and lobsters with great vocal chords? Nigerian animator Adamu Waziri sure wasn’t waiting on Disney to create cartoons that were a clear representation of Africa and African children. Waziri got tired of kids feeling invisible when they watched their favorite cartoons so he simply created his own, The Bino and Fino Show
The Bino and Fino show has become the highest selling African children’s DVD since its launch. Waziri says, “Many of the shows the children in Nigeria were watching were imported, so they were not able to identify with the characters physically or culturally. There was no connection their. We created The Bino and Fino show to balance this spectrum,” explained Waziri.
Set in a Sub-Saharan city in Africa, Bino and Fino is about a set of twins who learn through magical adventures with friend, Zeena the Magical Butterfly. The cartoon incorporates the basic Pre-School to 1st grade creative learning curriculum but with a cultural twist. Bino and Fino explores topics such as culture, history, geography, science and even touches on female empowerment. Psychotherapist, Dr. Dwayne Buckingham says shows like Bino and Fino are needed. “The lack of representation in media for kids has a profound effect on their self esteem and sense of worth. If all the shows that a child sees from an early age don’t have any characters that resemble them than their initial self-concept and worth is already challenged in the early stage of development. They may equate this to not being “good enough, pretty enough or smart enough. This is a serious problem.”
Parents and kids from all over the world are falling in love with Bino and Fino because it teaches children about Africa and global diversity in a beautiful and authentic way. This year, Waziri also added a collection of soft dolls from the show which have been a hit amongst the little people who don’t have Facebook, Twitter and IG to express themselves. This type of inclusion is definitely a start and the perfect way to educate your kids this Black History month. To learn more about Bino and Fino and other shows and books that your child can identify with go to Bino and Fino’s blog.
photo by Creative Soul