Kya Johnson, 37, Stereotype Shatterer
Kya Johnson learned something disappointing while she was mentoring a young child. He told Kya, a veteran attorney, that he had never heard of a black lawyer.
“It’s one of those moments where you think, ‘You should be doing more,’” Kya says.
That epiphany led Kya to launch her new business, RainbowMe, an online video network that allows children ages two to 12 to watch shows that celebrate diversity and star multicultural characters, including Latino, Indian, Asian and African-American kids. Kya partnered with Bernard Bell, a television veteran, and Talib Graves-Manns, a technology and marketing entrepreneur, to make her idea a reality.
As an attorney at the Law Offices of Kenneth M. Johnson in Greensboro, Kya handles social security disability for children and workers compensation cases.
Kya says she has seen many children at her career and volunteer work who place limitations on themselves because they aren’t used to seeing their race or culture represented in the mainstream media. Kya wants children to celebrate their diversity rather than feel restricted by it.
“Research indicates when [children] don’t see images of themselves, they place limitations on themselves,” Kya says. Launched on April 30 of this year, RainbowMe shows kids what they can be through shows from all around the world, including India, South Africa and Brazil.
“Originally the idea was like a Hulu for kids who are underrepresented,” Kya says.
However, the website is quickly becoming more than just videos. In a year or so, RainbowMe users will also be able play games, read books and listen to music that celebrate diversity.
Kya wants kids of all backgrounds to not only be encouraged to do more, but also gain an appreciation for others who are not like themselves.
“It would be great if kids can understand and appreciate each other for who they are,” Kya says.