Howard University is on a mission to diversify the entertainment industry. After launching an internship program with Lionsgate, the Washington, D.C.-based HBCU has teamed up with Amazon Studios for the creation of a program designed to open pathways for students of color pursuing careers in film and television, WJLA reported.
The program—dubbed Howard Entertainment—will give students the opportunity to spend two semesters in Los Angeles to learn from executives at Amazon Studios and other influential individuals in the entertainment industry. Throughout the course of the program, students will explore how to navigate the ins and outs of the industry and the necessary skills needed to foster a successful career in the entertainment business. They will also learn how to take an entrepreneurial approach towards the industry and bring their creative ideas from the ideation to execution stage. The program will intertwine informative courses, insightful forums and hands-on work experiences. Students will also be able to build a solid professional network.
The program is slated to launch in January 2020 and is open to students from different disciplines. 12 students were selected to participate in the program’s inaugural cohort. “Collaborating with Amazon Studios will enable us to marry academia and industry efforts to build a robust workforce of diverse entertainment industry leaders. With Howard’s proven track record of developing some of Hollywood’s most notable actors, comedians and musicians, this next level collaboration will enable us to have an even greater impact,” Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick said in a statement. “This relationship aligns with Howard’s strategic goals of enhancing academic excellence and inspiring new knowledge.”
The leadership team at Amazon Studios is excited about the partnership and believes that it will be instrumental in building a solid talent pipeline. “Amazon Studios has been working to create new pathways into the industry for talented students of all backgrounds,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “We are proud to team with Howard on this new program supporting aspiring entertainment leaders.”
Initiatives like Howard Entertainment are needed. According to Variety, Black executives remain underrepresented in the entertainment industry.