AFROFUTURISM & The Rise if African Superheros – Enter E.X.O
As a child in Lagos, Nigeria, Roye Okupe enjoyed watching the same shows as kids in the USA; Batman, Superman and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It occurred to him that none of the superheroes looked or sounded as he did. It would not be until almost two decades later, as a student in the United States that Okupe would again question why there were no African superheroes, except this time, it was not just the random questioning of a child, but of someone who could solve the problem of the absence of indigenous superheroes of color.
Roye Okupe today is a veteran creative specialist who holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s in computer science from The George Washington University. His passion for animation led him to found YouNeek Studios in 2012. This endeavor would allow him pursue his dream of creating a diverse library of superheroes. As a part of that initiative, Okupe wrote and produced several animated productions including 2D/3D animated short films, TV commercials, show openers, music videos and more. No stranger to wearing multiple hats, he was part of a team (as a producer, assistant director and editor) of filmmakers who retold the Biblical story of King David in a contemporary movie titled D’Comeback, which premiered in the US in March 2010.
With the superhero genre currently at the height of popularity, Okupe has made it a goal to create a connected universe of heroes, with origins from locations that are currently neglected and/or ignored. In April 2015, he released chapter 1 of his debut, superhero graphic novel titled: E.X.O. The Legend of Wale Williams, a superhero story set in a futuristic Nigeria. E.X.O. was received with critical acclaim and has since been featured on CNN, Forbes, BBC, The Huffington Post, and Mashable.