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Sullivan's Afrokids leveraging mobile, online platforms


LOS ANGELES -- Leo Sullivan would like to give the gift of childhood to every black youth he meets.
It's a world of imagery and magic that passes on values developed over the centuries.But the delivery system is as contemporary as the latest smart phone.He is co-founder of Afrokids, which has presented educational videos, games and other instructional materials for two decades.Sullivan's other career has been as one of the top animators in Hollywood, with credits including Batman, Animaniacs, X-Men.   For African-Americans, his work is at the heart of the Fat Albert series and as the animator for the opening of SoulTrain.

On a Saturday in July, Sullivan held the initial workshop for his upcoming six-week animation class, a topic he is equally passionate about.   Through Marcus Garvey school at Slauson and Crenshaw, he is bringing new diverse talent into the animation industry, so that youth become creators instead of just consumers.

During an interview here, Sullivan said, "You can just see it in the faces of the young people when they see something that they can relate to."


They can develop projects like Afrokids' upcoming mobile game, Red Tails, based on the exploits of the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II.

During National Black Business Month, our suggested activity for Tuesday, Aug. 2 is purchasing online from vendors like Leo Sullivan's Afrokids.com.

If James Briggs of Briabe Media in Los Angeles has his way, there will be many more offerings available.   He recently obtained a $2 million investment from Norway for his advertising agency to market through mobile media to diverse audiences.  Recent data shows African-Americans use mobile media more proportionately than any other consumer group.

Terrence Coles and James Hines of ByParents4Kids plan to expand the educational offerings available for parents, children and schools through mobile technologies.  They are working with a Silicon Valley tablet maker to hold an app developer workshop in Los Angeles during National Black Business Month.

Practically any electronic media product can be purchased through Zenobia Millett's MediaTechMarketing.com, including big screen televisions, computers and camera.

James Turner has used the web to sell ideas.  With co-founder Van Jones, they created Colorofchange.org, which has been at the forefront of a number of social justice campaigns.

Filmmaker Kevin Epps found that he could use the Internet to market his projects, beginning with Straight Outta Hunters Point, Rap Dreams and then, Black Rock, the saga of African-Americans on the fabled Alcatraz.  He's got a sequel, Straight Outta Hunters Point 2, released this summer.

One of the most successful non-profit uses of online marketing has been the campaign to build the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall.   This site is very helpful for those seeking information about the opening ceremonies Aug. 22-28 during National Black Business Month.

William Murrell of blacksoftware.com has used online sales since 1999.  He was an early adopter as a moderator for the Compuserve African-American Cultural Forum in the 1990s.

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