AFIDFF African Storytellers

Promoting Africa's talented storytellers, journalists, and documentary producers to global prominence.

African Storyteller of the week

Roye Okupe - African Storyteller

In less than a decade, Roye Okupe came from not being known to establishing himself as one of the biggest animation producers in Africa. Roye himself is a brand and a force to be reckoned with, so once we discovered what he has accomplished, we were delighted to share his story with you!

Who is Roye Okupe?

Mr. Okupe is a Lagosian by birth.  He is an author, filmmaker, screenwriter, speaker, and entrepreneur. His multitalented skills have led him to be recognized on Ventures Africa's list of 40 African innovators to watch in 2016 and New African Magazine's 100 most influential Africans consecutively in 2016 and 2017. Also, as a result of Roye's ‘commitment to excellence and inclusion,’ he was nominated in 2021 for the Dwayne McDuffie Award for Diversity in Comics.

Roye realized his passion for animation when he envisioned developing an African superhero universe. This dream was highly influenced by memories of cartoons that included superheroes like ‘Transformers’ and ‘X-Men’ which he watched as a child in Lagos, Nigeria. Coincidentally, the year he moved to the United States was the same year Sam Raimi's first "Spider-Man" film broke box office records, establishing superheroes as a mainstay in theaters. These experiences crystallized Roye's notion of telling the story of African superheroes in their own universe.

He graduated from George Washington University with a degree in computer science and also has a degree in animation from the Art Institute of Washington. Under YouNeek Studios which he founded in 2015, he has produced several comics, animations, and podcasts. Some of these works include MALIKA™: WARRIOR QUEEN; E.X.O.™: THE LEGEND OF WALE WILLIAMS; WINDMAKER™; and many more.


With Darkhorse Comics, YouNeek gained publication rights to a 10-book series of fantasy and superhero stories in 2021. IYANU: CHILD OF WONDER, his work from this line, was recently greenlit as an animated series at HBO Max/Cartoon Network, with LionForge Animation producing and Roye serving as EP, Director, and Co-Creator.

What makes Roye unique?

Roye Okupe

When Roye first started, he had trouble convincing people of his vision. One producer suggested that if he changed the race of his heroes, his ideas might work. This was years before "Black Panther" became widely known. Despite the setbacks, Roye continued. In 2015, he decided to self-publish comic books to present his heroes to the world. 

He believed in himself and the kind of impact his works had. He showed the world that if you want work done, then do it yourself. He used his medium of preference to showcase African heritage in ways that were new and innovative. He dreamed of creating his own African superhero universe. Now it’s finally paying off.

Here at AFIDFF, our mission statement is to discover talented underprivileged filmmakers, storytellers, and documentarians, train and empower them to tell the African story from their own perspective, and project them to global prominence. In essence, taking a look at Roye and seeing him achieve what we stand for all on his own was a sight to behold for us.

Now that you are aware of who Roye Okupe is, do you agree with our standpoint on him?

Malika - Warrior Queen Trailer

Watch Full Movie here


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