Jamaica Plain resident and entrepreneur Keeana Saxon (founder of Kidogo Productions) recently launched kidogo.tv, an online video and interactive game service designed for Black preschoolers.
The media company’s mission is to offer diverse, wholesome, educational content accessible for children all over the world, filling the void in children’s media. The platform showcases its own content as well as a wide range of curated videos, activities, and games in areas ranging from Black history to musical rhymes to science and math.
The passion behind Kidogo, which means “little” in Swahili, grew as Saxon searched for diverse, multicultural online content for her own pre-schooler—and came up empty-handed. “Only 5.6% of U.S. animation features Black characters,” explains Saxon (according to Tufts research). Furthermore, when we do see Black characters, we are often silent, silly, off-to-the-side or bad.” And out of that frustration, a vision to create and share diverse multi-media began to grow. “On Kidogo.tv, Black children are celebrated, not misrepresented; centered, not marginalized,” states Saxon.
Born in Washington, D.C., Saxon moved to Newton when she was five years old and attended the Newton Public Schools. After graduating from Newton South High School, she went on to attend Spelman College, where she majored in Classical Piano Performance and minored in French. While studying abroad in Paris, France, she earned a teacher’s certificate from a private music conservatory. She then earned a JD at Western New England University School of Law. Previously, she served the Commonwealth as Deputy General Counsel for a state agency. Today, in addition to running Kidogo Productions, she is a Liquor Licensing Board Commissioner for the City of Boston, runs a piano lesson business, and teaches Sunday School at Bethel AME in Jamaica Plain. Recently, she was honored to have one of her stories included in the 25th Anniversary Edition of the Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul.
“Kidogo wholeheartedly intends to honor Black children—their brains, talents, cultures, faces, and voices—in every work we produce and share. Our goal is to help create a Kidogo community where Black children, and all children, see the African Diaspora featured and centered positively,” shares Saxon. For a low monthly fee, families have full access to all videos and content.
Saxon was thrilled to have Kidogo’s original work featured as a musical short at the Indie Night Film Festival earlier this year. Responding to the wave of support, Saxon applied to the Roxbury Innovation Center’s Pitch Night. Competing with 100 applicants, Saxon was one of ten finalists selected to actually make a pitch—and was honored to come in third place. She also just completed a business accelerator with EForAll and has been chosen as Class Speaker. She looks forward to joining Babson College’s Black Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership program scheduled to begin in October.
Saxon recently co-hosted (with Yawa Degboe of Kids.Think.Art) an engaging virtual panel discussion: “Representation in Art and Children’s Media” at the Fierce Urgency of Now Festival. During the discussion, Saxon advocated for adapting the Bechdel Test to children’s media by asking, Do Black children engage in a dialogue with each other? Does the subject of the dialogue have to do with anything other than supporting a white character? Does the subject of the dialogue have to do with anything other than something negative (e.g. violence, stereotype, racism)?
“It is my vision that Black children around the world will join our online platform and see their reflection honored as they are entertained with a range of content that affirms who they are,” says Saxon.” As we continue to grow, the Kidogo community will enable children to see not only their culture reflected, but other countries of the Africa Diaspora.”
Learn more about Kidogo’s platform at Kidogo.tv.