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Ludacris's latest project celebrates the joy and complexities of Black girlhood

“I feel like we need shows like this now more than ever,” said the rapper, whose name is Chris Bridges and who is the executive producer of "Karma's World" on Netflix.
Jeeter Day
Ludacris performs at a private residence in Beverly Hills, Calif., last November. Alberto E. Rodriguez / Getty Images file

When the actor and rapper Chris “Ludacris” Bridges came up with the idea for a children’s show, he wanted to make sure that his daughters were represented. Fourteen years into the making, he created "Karma’s World" — an animated children’s series depicting the life of Karma, a 10-year-old Black girl and aspiring musical artist.

Season two of the series, which premiered Thursday on Netflix, tackles real-life challenges related to body shaming, setting boundaries and other important topics in a way that both entertains and allows for kids to comprehend.

“I feel like we need shows like this now more than ever,” Bridges, the show’s executive producer, said, “and the reinforcement is in the music as well.”

Since the first season debuted in October, “Karma’s World” was in the Top 10 on Netflix Kids for a month, and then became available in 190 countries and in 22 languages. Expanding Black representation beyond the screen, the show has a line of dolls with Mattel and an official album out with songs including, “Proud of My Hair,” “Open Your Heart” and “Reach the Top” that promote self-confidence. 

By following the experiences of the main character, Karma, and her friends, the show gives representation to Black and Latino children on screen. Research shows that Black and Latino characters are minimally represented in children’s cartoons. Bridges said that having this representation in "Karma’s World" is both empowering and enriching.

Image: Karma's World season 2
Asiahn Bryant voices Karma and Danielle Brooks is Dr. Lillie Carter-Grant in "Karma's World" season 2.Netflix

“For my own daughters, I would love for them to see a show like the one I’ve created,” Bridges said, “where they can see their hair represented and the texture represented, and hear about real life situations that they’re going through … and just constantly reminding kids that the sky’s the limit — and they can go after their dreams, and they can make change, no matter how young they are, starting in their own neighborhood.”

Bridges, the father of four girls — his youngest 7 months and the oldest 20 — said that the show is inspired by his 20-year-old daughter, Karma, who provides most of the ideas and themes for the series. In one episode during season two, Switch, Karma’s best friend, is bullied for her appearance. Bridges said the episode was inspired by his daughter Karma, who had a moment when she became self conscious about her weight. He also said he feels that so many children and families are resonating with the show because young viewers face the same challenges through social media and in real life.

Through the series, Bridges also aims to demonstrate the power of change through young people’s efforts while promoting positivity and building self-confidence. In one episode titled “Karma for President,” Karma gets involved in school elections, encouraging responsible leadership in young viewers.

Bridges, who plays the voice of Karma’s father, Conrad, exhibits the important role parents take on in supporting their children’s dreams while also guiding them through the challenges they face.

“I love being a girl dad,” Bridges said. “I’m just the portal for what the most high wants to give me. So we’re going to have some more empowered, extremely intelligent and strong Black women in the world today because they have chosen me to be their father.”

By reminding his daughters of their inner and outer beauty, he also hopes for children who watch his show to learn that everyone is unique and achieve self-acceptance.

“As long as you love your kids and you teach them that everybody has different body types and body sizes,” Bridges said, “that’s what’s most important — is for children to love themselves — and then for them to make the choices that they want to make.”

CORRECTION (March 11, 2022, 10:23 a.m. ET): A previous version of this article misstated the number of daughters Ludacris has and the age of his oldest daughter. He has four daughters, not five, and his oldest daughter is 20, not 25.

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