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kevin hart’s next business investment is already a game changer in the comic book industry

February 12, 2022

In a recent guest appearance on “Shark Tank,” comedian and actor Kevin Hart expanded his ever-growing media empire into the comic book space. But he’s not going into it blindly. Instead, Hart and resident “shark” Mark Cuban entered into a preliminary agreement to pour $500K into Black Sands Entertainment, a company that has been creating Afrocentric comic content across a variety of platforms for close to six years.

According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, even before securing this latest round of investment, Black Sands was already the largest Black-focused comic book publisher. Since its inception in 2016, the company has worked to provide representation for Black children in a space that minimized and tokenized people of color for so many years. It all started with two comic book titles – “Black Sands: The Seven Kingdoms and Cosmic Girls” – and founder Manuel Godoy’s goal of changing “how comics portray the world for the future generation.”

“[Black Sands Entertainment] has worked to provide representation for Black children in a space that minimized and tokenized people of color for so many years.”

From four titles published in 2017, Black Sands has gone on to publish a multitude of individual books and ongoing series that center the vast cultural heritage and history of Black and Brown people before slavery. The company parlayed the popularity of its original books into a crowdfunding initiative that raised over $1 million to turn “Black Sands: The Seven Kingdoms” into an animated feature.

Since then, the company’s catalog of products has grown to include graphic novels, chapter books, picture books, and a webcomics app. While the products were created with children in mind, Black Sands releases also provide a variety of resources and tools for parents looking to engage young readers or find innovative ways to explore Black history and culture.

Following his “Shark Tank” appearance, Godoy told Publishers Weekly that he and Hart had started the next phase of negotiations to finalize the “handshake deal” made at the end of his segment of the show. Godoy went into the situation offering a 5% stake in the company in exchange for the $500K funding he was seeking. However, Hart offered to embed Black Sands into the existing system that powers his production company, HartBeat Productions. The promise of having access to all of the creative, production, and distribution services needed to lead to a wide-release film adaptation of the original Black Sands franchise was enough to convince Godoy to welcome Hart and Cuban as 30% owners of his company.