Having discussed what went on behind the scenes, Dr. Bailey expounded on the objective of Meltrek, and on how it’s been received so far.
“It’s been amazing,” Dr. Baily said, pausing to add, “from children, parents, and teachers. We’re offering something that challenges what children have been seeing and hearing about Africa. Let’s face it, traditional textbooks aren’t going to teach our children about the version of themselves they need to see. Just look at the some of the videos on Youtube from lecturers like myself and others who are really trying to challenge the narrative.” Dr. Bailey sighed. “You have people that come in the comment section and say that blacks are a zero-contribution race. It’s—ridiculous. I know that. But for children who hear these things about themselves, they start to absorb it.
“That’s what I’m trying to change. For the little bit of bad feedback we’ve gotten from ignorant people, we’ve gotten a ton of positive feedback from teachers around the world. One teacher in the United Kingdom wrote to us that she uses Meltrek as a teaching tool. And it’s not just for black children; European and Asian children are being fed the same old history about Africa too. I’ve had a teacher tell me that her students were amazed to learn that Egypt is in Africa, despite it being right there on a map. Nearly all of the movies about Egypt they’d seen had a nearly all white cast. These kids knew nothing about the history of royalty, government, literature, and technology that came out of Africa. For many of them, their introduction to African history began with the slave trade.
“The most overwhelmingly positive response I get is from parents who are homeschooling. The number of black parents who’ve chosen to home school in the U.S. the past couple of years has skyrocketed. They know it’s really our responsibility to tell children about their origin, and teach them to love those origins.”
EdAnime’s first episode of Meltrek: Exploring Ancient Africa, is the only one they’ve produced so far, but Dr. Bailey says a second episode is well on its way and that there’s a huge demand for it. I asked her about funding for the project, finding new actors for the voice overs (the young actors’ voices from the first episode sound markedly different now since they’re older), and other obstacles she might encounter with this one, but Dr. Bailey preferred to focus on the positive. She cites that decision— her decision to stay positive–as one she shares with her company’s co-founders and the reason EdAnime is still here today.
“I don’t worry. I started out with a vision to make something to connect our children to their history and culture. People are waking up, and I think that this genre will continue to grow. EdAnime’s second episode of Meltrek will focus on science and mathematics in Africa because we really feel that’s the next area we should tackle, and there’s already huge support for it.
“On the business side, eventually we’ll restructure the company so that people can purchase shares, but for now we’re looking to net more investors. I always think big. I think EdAnime could become tantamount to Disney. There’s no reason we shouldn’t have it that way. We should invest in what we want our children to see.”
M’Shai S Dash is a freelance writer and blogger from Washington D.C. She’s a pop-culture connoisseur and Legend of Zelda fanatic who writes about blerd culture, social justice issues, and afrofuturism. Dash is currently a staff writer for Blacksci-Fi.com.