Nigerian-American, Roye Okupe brings authentic African representation to HBO Max and Cartoon Network, adapting his comic Iyanu: Child of Wonder.
Okupe is a pioneer in diversity and inclusion for the entertainment industry. In 2021, Roye was nominated for the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics, meant to honor “commitment to excellence and inclusion.” His works provide authenticity and create content that delivers inclusive content for the global audience. He can speak to the depth of accomplishing and sustaining an afrofuturistic universe that not only exists but thrives on spectators’ exploration of a culture unknown to them.
Along with his work in organically diversifying comics, Okupe has signed a 10-book deal with Dark Horse Comics, showing the world that we are ready for ethnic heroes without insulting the readers.
During our interview, I do tease Okupe about the redundancy of the title of one of his other comics, Malika: Warrior Queen, as Malika is most Semitic languages translates to Queen.
Okupe is proof that America is the land of opportunity, if you are willing to take a chance on your dreams, it also helped that his father was quite supportive of his comic book dreams and his decade long journey into becoming an over night success.
Now a father himself, Roye Okupe is not only setting out to tell stories for the world, but for his family. His toddler can be heard in the background playing during out interview and as the ancient Greeks would say, “Men plant trees knowing they will never sit in their shade.”
Okupe is planting those threes in America, for his children, for future generations and for other immigrants who have stories to be told.