We had the good fortune of connecting with YaAdam Fye and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi YaAdam, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
We dreamt it up more than 13 years ago, and have finally brought it to life. The idea came from our frustration with the lack of diversity in children’s media: the depiction of African characters as only animals and no princess to call our own… It made it hard for the children born into our family, far from our birthplace to connect with the beauty and magic of Africa. Fye Network, known as Fyen is a diverse, media and content creation company. We curate African inspired content for children between the ages of 2-12; telling stories about African history, culture, traditions and its people.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
13 years ago, The Royal Adventures of Princess Halima project was inspired by the birth of the first baby (grandchild) in the family, Halima Bah. Halima is of Guinean, Gambian, Tanzanian descent. With such a rich combination of African culture and history, we thought the best way to educate Halima about her many homelands was to start the series of books through which she will get to not only discover her heritage, but also learn about the African continent as a whole. Our self-publish has been extremely challenging but representation matters in every aspect of life and it’s no different in the world of books and animation. Stories of our countries, cultures and people with characters that have the same names as some in our families speak to our complex yet beautiful identities. It’s important for children to learn and embrace the differences in our backgrounds and cultures to develop those views that will guide them in today’s interconnected world. This journey has taught us many lessons but the two most important is to always read your contracts; over and over again; and to be flexible! We want the world to know that Fyen is the next leading name in children’s entertainment. We’re committed to leading the charge in creating a more diverse, global interactive children’s books market. Our African inspired stories enable children to gain a new perspective on the complex yet endearing aspects of the continent. Whether it’s grabbing a book to read about the people through the adventures of the African Princess, Princess Halima; understanding the importance of protecting and preserving our National Parks alongside Bakary or simply learning everyday life lessons of love, respect and community, with Samba and Batch, Fyen is purpose-built to deliver unrivaled entertainment and education.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Place we will visit: 1. The first place I take all visitors is to the Georgia Aquarium. Is it truly a magical place for both children and adults. 2. MLK Home and Visitor center 3. Hiking at Stone Mountain, I love a good exercise outing. 4. CNN sign 5. Coco Cola Factory All the places we will eat during the weekend: 1. Sugar And Honey Atl 2. Jim ‘N Nick’s BBQ 3. Pasha Restaurant and Bar
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My mother Lucy Fye, deserves all the recognition and credit for bringing our dream of The Royal Adventures of Princess Halima (the African Princess) series to life. When my sisters and I, started this self-publishing journey we were just in love with the idea and wanted to make it happen. Our mother, Lucy has been our biggest investor and cheerleader! She has believed in our dream and poured her love, time and money into this 14 year journey. Somedays, I want to throw my hat in the ring and she often reminds us that our mission is beyond our personal gratitude. Our collection of Fyen books is for all the little girls and boys across our beautiful continent that are voiceless and unseen, and lack the representation in the books they read daily.
Book images owned by Fye Network (Fyen) Pictures: credit to https://www.beyajohnson.com