Black CEO turned toy designer creates music and books for Playful Genius educational company

Culturally relevant children’s music, books and toys are in high demand for multicultural kids across the nation. Publishing magnate Munson Steed, author and CEO of rolling out magazine is making a resounding statement in the young people’s entertainment genre with the introduction of Playful Genius, a brand of toys and games for African-American and multicultural kids presented in a vivid and dynamic fashion.  Playful Genius offers a diverse collection of learning and entertainment items geared toward the art of storytelling in music and art.  Now, children from an array of ethnic backgrounds can see and hear their own particular interests reflected in music and songs available on YouTube channels and other digital platforms.

Playful Genius and the brand’s predecessor, the Little Professor Skye collection, allows  African American kids and children of color an opportunity to march to the beat of their own drummers as they navigate the Playful Genius playscape.


Young people are encouraged through song to explore new avenues to develop their interests in lesser tapped disciplines long regarded as “too difficult” or “off-limits” for young minority learners, like computer science and STEM disciplines. They are motivated to aspire to be the smartest kids in the class, the leaders of the pack and that what has traditionally been labeled nerdy, is actually the new cool.

And the arbitrators of kids’ cool, are the singing group, Skye and the Highlights, created by talented musical artists and recorded at Steed Studios in Atlanta. Little Professor Skye music is available on all digital platforms, including Spotify, Amazon and Apple Music.

Check out video here:

How did you come up with the idea of the company name Playful Genius?

When you’ve got children in your home and your neighborhood and watch how playful they are as they go about learning and mastering new skills even in subjects like science and math, they do it with a playful spirit. They develop their own creative paths and often approach challenges with their own artistic swag, which often includes music for cool points. Music is just inherent to them.

Later, when they’re attending Morehouse or Howard or FAMU, you’ll still find them singing and dancing while preparing for the MCAT or studying for the LSAT.

How does Playful Genius help shape children’s’ imaginations?

Children that are mastering skills in kindergarten and first through fifth grades are also mastering themselves … they are absolute geniuses in their own right. Much of that is accomplished with the assistance of nurturing parents, teachers, spiritual leaders and members of the community.

They essentially get to have that same experience of community support through the characters in the visual and musical storytelling who band together to support each other in their areas of interest outside of the typical.

Why is that important?

We want them to avail themselves of thinking about learning and education as a cool adventure. They think about new concepts and developing skills in math and science and chemistry. They hang out at research labs conduct research. My newest character Atom Smart – whose name says it all – guides them in harnessing the power of genius, which is what is happening at their young ages.

Why did you choose space and science as themes for Atom Smart?

It is import that our children no space is an entire industry. The Playful Genius and Atom Smart storylines feature various engineering and science careers for impressionable minds. The Smart series spotlights achievement and reaching for the stars.

What motivated you to write and produce music for the Little Professor Skye bandleader character? 

Music is critical to our cultural identity and the exchange of information. The Little Professor Skye Music series has the hit-making beats with positive lyrics which is so prevalent in Atlanta. It’s great music for the entire family.

Checkout Playful Genius tunes from Skye and the Highlights here: Spotify, Skye and the Highlights – Apple Music, Candles – Apple Music, and Amazon.

Why are toys and animation so important to children’s brands today?

Toys are very much alive in the minds of children and adults. The animation allows music and song to amplify storytelling. Playful Genius is a brand committed to culturally significant and intelligent content for black and brown children and their diverse groups of friends.

The Alphabet Safari was created for what target audience?

Alphabet Safari is for multicultural children in the zero to four age groups. The book’s pages are splashed from cover to cover with engaging illustrations in a child-friendly print format that features animals from the African and South America continents so they know they and these places are real. And they don’t even have to leave life in cities like Detroit, Chicago, New York or Atlanta.

Parents can also teach from the letters and the settings we offer to reinforce sight word knowledge and geographical identification from describing their habitats and countries they live in.

Why did you pick Playful Genius toys, music and books for a new business venture?

My Goddaughter Skye inspired the creation of Little Professor Skye. I was committed to creating for children so they know where learning and education and music and sports are the elements for living life. I know our children have raised expectations and I want to help them recognize their genius and take it with them through their journeys.




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