Black Sands Entertainment gets boost from Hart, ‘Shark Tank’

Six years ago, Manuel and Geiszel Godoy were only looking to satisfy the needs of their daughter and children like her. But they ended up exceeding their expectations.

Mr. and Mrs. Godoy, owners of Delaware-based Black Sands Entertainment, couldn’t find children’s books and comics that represented their family and their Black heritage.

They noted that such representation is still a difficult part of the entertainment industry. While there are a few examples – such as “Black Panther” – Black characters, directors and content creators remain few in the world of entertainment and face additional struggles while trying to make it there.

So the Godoys started their business as a way to differentiate the field, by introducing Black characters and stories in their comic books.

“We saw the need to make stories about the history of Africa before slavery. We wanted to communicate that aspect because it has never been reported before. So we focus on all the different countries in Africa and other traditional groups,” said Mrs. Godoy, his company’s books also reach into Incan and Malaysian culture.

They started Black Sands to tell stories of strong Black characters set in those early days of pre-colonial history. Founded in 2016, their empire has grown to 25 titles. A popular series is “Black Sands,” about the important Black Pharaohs and their families in ancient Egypt and the surrounding areas.

Continuing their journey to get these stories told in a full-length, healthy way, the couple, both Army veterans, scored $500,000 on the ABC show “Shark Tank” with actor/comedian Kevin Hart and Mark Cuban, during the show’s broadcast. in January.

The media company of Mr. Global label Hartbeat officially closed a deal recently with Black Sands Entertainment.

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As part of the partnership, Heartbeat will provide consulting services to accelerate Black Sands’ efforts, particularly in the area of ​​film and TV. Heartbeat and Black Sands is already in development for an animated show and series around the “Black Sands” franchise.

“When Manuel, Geiszel and the Black Sands Entertainment team stepped into ‘Tank,’ I knew this was the company I wanted to bring into my eco-system,” Mr. Hart said in a statement.

“The Black Sands team was looking for a partner with the tools to grow their distribution, expand their production, find new creative talent, and promote their current and future content portfolio – all of which are areas of Hartbeat’s core business. I am very excited that our team will be able to help Black Sands grow and continue to share their unique stories with audiences around the world. “

The agreement follows the initiative of Mr. and Mrs. Godoy is a successful Kickstarter, which reached its goal of $ 10,000 in one minute and received $ 100,000 in one day. Black Sands has sold 200,000 print copies of its comic books, resulting in $2 million in sales since its inception.

Despite their military background – Mr. Godoy was a radar technician, and Mrs. Godoy worked in public resources – both are interested in the arts.

“I went to a fashion design school in California and got a degree in fashion. I worked with Calvin Klein designing them. … And my husband went to college for video game design. He is also an artist,” said Mrs. Godoy.

In addition, both of them have written many books.

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Mrs. Godoy, who works as the company’s chief financial officer, said she was very surprised by the company’s success.

“I thought I was going to continue doing fashion forever,” she said.

But, reflecting on the early days of Black Sands, he said going independent was the right move.

“Usually, when you write novels and things, you have to go to the big dogs, and they want to change everything,” said Mr. Godoy, CEO of Black Sands.

“I remember trying to write this really good book, and they wanted to change the character’s name from Godoy to Jefferson because of their marketing research. And I said, ‘That’s stupid.’

Mrs. Godoy agreed.

“My surname is Godoy. It’s about my son and my daughter. I wrote about them in the book, and they wanted me to change the names. “My children love me and I include them in our stories,” he said.

‘In the Tank’

The decision to go on “Shark Tank” was made for a few reasons.

“We wanted exposure, and we wanted to grow and scale the company, to take our company to the next level because there is a lot of red tape involved,” said Ms. Godoy.

However, appearing on the show was hard work.

“They don’t play games. They want to know your entire history. They do their due diligence. They want to know your company’s credit report, the health of your company. They want to see all your documents related to your company. It’s a very, very difficult process. And they were telling us during this work, many people are cut, and they don’t succeed,” said Mrs. Godoy.

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They appeared on “Shark Tank,” which was recorded in the summer of 2021 and aired on January 7, with the head of the studio, Teunis De Raat.

They went in asking for $500,000 for a 5% stake in their company but settled on an offer from Mr. Hart and Mr. Cuban for $500,000 for 30%. The actor will handle the entertainment part, with Mr. Cuban on the technical side of things.

Mr. Godoy shared his excitement about the future of Black Sands with the new investors.

“They put their name here with us. And now that’s done, we can start making real business games on the animation production side. We have it there. It’s all public. All ready to go. And that alone allows us to go after the main voice actors, go after the animation studios and things like that, when we couldn’t do that before,” he said.

Expansion

Along with looking to grow into an animator, Black Sands launched an app to help Black creators reach a larger audience and a podcast to share the secrets of indie publishing success.

The Godoys said they would like to bring their books to more schools. They have other southern states on board but are looking to grow even more, with Delaware chief among those states.

“It’s one of the big things we’re focusing on right now. We are now trying to get into New York and the DC area (schools), as far as getting wider distribution in those areas. “We’ve really done a lot of work to make sure we have books available in those areas,” said Mr. Godoy.

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