African Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka is launching a new media company in partnership with four-time NBA champion LeBron James aimed at telling stories that cross cultural barriers, the former world number one announced on Tuesday. Naomi Osaka launches production company Hana Kuma.
Hana Kuma, which translates to “flower bear,” will produce stories that are “culturally specific but universal to all audiences” and already has multiple projects lined up, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
“What excites me is being able to inspire people and tell new stories, particularly ones that I would have wanted to see when I was a kid. I always wanted to kind of see someone like me,” four-time Grand Slam champion Osaka, who has a Haitian father and Japanese mother, told the New York Times.
The production company, called Hana Kuma, will produce scripted and nonfiction content, starting with a New York Times documentary about Patsy Mink, the first woman of color elected to U.S. Congress, according to a press release. The announcement says Hana Kuma will highlight “empowering” and “culturally specific” stories.
“There has been an explosion of creators of color finally being equipped with resources and a huge platform,” Osaka said in the release. “In the streaming age, content has a more global perspective. You can see this in the popularity of television from Asia, Europe and Latin America that the unique can also be universal. My story is a testament to that as well.”
The SpringHill Company, founded by NBA star James and business partner Maverick Carter, will provide production and strategic resources to Hana Kuma, the release said. Hana Kuma also has partnerships with crypto exchange platform FTX and health platform Modern Health.
In May, Osaka launched an athlete representation agency called Evolve.
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