Actors join forces on AVoD platform Mansa

By Content Nigeria reporter
April 21, 2023


Actors David Oyelowo, Nate Parker and Chiké Okonkwo have launched Mansa, an AVoD platform focusing on content that celebrates and tells the stories of global black culture.

David Oyelowo (photo: Tyler Boye via CC)

Mansa has received US$8m in funding from MaC Venture Capital, WndrCo, Mike Novogratz’s Galaxy Investment Partners, Base Ventures, Dubin & Co, Rainmaker Films and Robert F Smith. Oyelowo, Parker and Okonkwo have co-founded the platform with tech entrepreneur and film financier Zak Tanjeloff.

Mansa has built a team of nearly 30 employees from companies including Netflix, BET, Hulu, Roku, Tubi, Redbox, Complex and Uber.

It offers curated longform and shortform film and TV shows, user-generated content, free ad-supported streaming (FAST) channels and video podcasts. It has already licensed over 1,500 hours of content and secured partnerships with more than 50 content suppliers.

Mansa will roll out over two-dozen licensed FAST channels as it prepares for a wide launch in the US during the second quarter of 2023 on Roku, Amazon FireTV, iOS, Android, Samsung, Vizio, LG and web. It will then expand internationally, first into Africa and then throughout the diaspora.

In addition to offering films featuring global stars like Idris Elba, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Trevor Noah, Zoe Kravitz and Halle Berry, a clear mission for the company is to identify, surface and cultivate black talent from around the world.

“Mansa is creating a space for diverse narratives, perspectives, characters and creators that continue to be underrepresented,” said Erika Turner, Mansa’s chief content officer. “I’m honoured to help fill storytelling gaps for audiences still waiting to be served.”

Oyelowo added: “Black culture is at the forefront of global culture, yet at the same time only the tip of the iceberg has been cultivated and propagated. We’re here to showcase the true breadth and depth of it for a global audience.

“We aim to change the paradigm around creator fairness, solving to address long felt challenges in the industry through addressing ownership, transparency and community on a foundational level.

“Mansa is diligently looking for content creators and companies within entertainment to work with, building a centralised hub where all can thrive together. To this point, that is something the establishment has been reluctant to do as a matter of practice. We will be announcing some very exciting partnerships and shows very soon.”

Other investors include former NBA star and Sacramento mayor Kevin Johnson’s Black Capital VC, James Norman, CEO of Pilotly and managing partner of Black Operator Ventures, and Wemimo Abbey, co-founder of the Softbank-backed unicorn Esusu.