The popular YouTube Originals series “Super Sema,” starring and executive produced by Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o, has appointed UTA as its North American licensing and publishing agency.
UTA will work alongside global toy licensee Just Play to focus on retail initiatives and key partnerships in publishing, apparel, home and accessories for the program, which is the world’s first children’s animated series focused on an African kid superhero.
The series follows the world-changing adventures of an extraordinary young African girl, Sema, and her twin brother MB, who are on a mission to protect their town Dunia from the villainous Tobor. Fueled by STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) superpowers, Sema knows that with determination and creativity, anything is possible. “Super Sema” is produced by the next-generation startup Kukua, shepherded by a female-led team including Kukua founder and CEO Lucrezia Bisignani and Nyong’o, who is a shareholder in Kukua.
Nyong’o is personally represented by CAA, who negotiated her deal in relation to “Super Sema.”
“’Super Sema’ represents a historic step forward in the world of educational children’s entertainment, and we couldn’t be happier to help bring its characters to life,” Sid Kaufman, an agent in UTA’s Ventures department, said while announcing the partnership. “We are looking forward to working with Kukua and Just Play to license and publish products that embody the show’s positive themes.”
Just Play will first introduce “Super Sema” toys, including talking dolls and plush characters, with products expected to launch across North America in fall 2022.
“Like UTA, we were drawn to Super Sema, who embodies strength, curiosity, innovation, and confidence,” added Geoffrey Greenberg, co-president of Just Play. “We’re thrilled to partner with Kukua and UTA on this phenomenal franchise to bring the adventure-themed play of this inspiring African role model to kids all over the world.”
The animated series is the foundation of the growing edutainment franchise. “Super Sema’s” first season, made up of 20 five-minute episodes, premiered in March 2021. The second season of the YouTube Originals series, which will consist of 12 11-minute episodes, will debut this spring. Complementing the new season, Kukua will launch a series of educational videos on YouTube to help kids explore the STEAM themes and topics featured in “Super Sema.”
“From the very beginning, ‘Super Sema’ stood out as one of those shows that had that special something. They don’t come around very often, but when they do, it’s phenomenal,” noted Nadine Zylstra, YouTube Originals’ head of family, learning and impact. “We’ve been so inspired working with the incredible Kukua team, and with tens of millions of views on their channel in just the last year, it’s been wonderful to see the rest of the world fall in love with Sema, too.”