Kent State Students’ Cartoon Will Fight to Eliminate Stereotypes

Afro PandaKent State University students Chris Hicks, Jimmie Hicks III, Stephen Hicks and their younger brother Jonathon Hicks started their own business, Afro Panda, nearly two years ago with the help of Kent State’s Blackstone LaunchPad.

Afro Panda, which originated as a cartoon version of Chris Hicks, matured into a vision for the brothers. Chris started incorporating Afro Panda in his daily activities.

“My brother and I preform hip-hop music, and we gave a concert at the Kent Stage with ‘Afro-man,’ and so many people loved it,” says Chris. “A woman came up to me and said she loved the little man on stage. So, I couldn’t ignore it anymore, and we took it from an image and turned it into vision.”

The brothers’ goal is to turn Afro Panda into a cartoon show where he fights to eliminate stereotypes.

“We’re going into a more globally aware world,” Chris says. “We figure by exposing racial differences to children and other viewers, it will prep them for a globally aware world.”

Chris and his brothers are ready to go public with their business plan and hope to raise enough money to pitch a cartoon show to major companies.

“It can stand for more than just a cartoon,” Chris says. “We hope that people latch on to the vision as well.”

It has been two years since the Hicks brother began the idea of Afro Panda, but it has only been one year since the team joined up with Blackstone LaunchPad. Blackstone LaunchPad is an innovative program that helps Kent State students, faculty, staff and alumni transform their business ideas into actual businesses.

For more information about Afro Panda, visit

For more information about Kent State’s Blackstone LaunchPad, visit

POSTED: Monday, December 2, 2013 12:00 AM
Updated: Tuesday, December 22, 2015 11:08 AM
Blackstone LaunchPad