Disney Launches Howard University Fund to Support Black Storytellers – The Hollywood Reporter

Disney partners with Howard University to increase opportunities for underrepresented students in media and entertainment.

The initiative, Howard University’s Disney Storytellers Fund, was announced Sunday by the Walt Disney Company at the Essence Festival of Culture.

The multi-year program provides stipends over a five-year period for student projects focused on storytelling in animation, digital design, gaming, journalism, live action, performing arts, product design, visual design, virtual reality and more, by company.

Disney is also funding a new creative collaborative space at the university and says it will provide access to speakers, mentors and internships to students in the program to spark interest in the fields needed to build skills for a future career in storytelling. of stories.

“Across all Disney brands, we are working to amplify underrepresented voices and untold stories,” said Jennifer Cohen, EVP of Corporate Social Responsibility. “The Disney Storytellers Fund at Howard will help us support students and the innovation and creativity that the university has cultivated for more than 150 years. We are excited to help the next generation of black storytellers bring their ideas to life.”

Phylicia Rashad, dean of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts at Howard, added in a statement, “Our students at the College of Fine Arts find their creative expression in many ways — in the performing arts, in animation, in design. of the products we use in life. The Disney Storytellers Fund is a tremendous support for our emerging artists as they explore and develop their potential within and across disciplines.”

The program is part of Disney’s social investments and collaborations, including school-age STEM programs, to increase access to storytelling and innovation careers for those who have historically been underrepresented.

Also at the Essence festival on Friday, Disney revealed the name, arrival date and more details about the redesigned Splash Mountain ride, which was criticized for its racist depictions. The revamped attraction, titled Tiana’s Bayou Adventure will make its debut at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Disneyland in late 2024.

The company has recently come under widespread fire for its lack of answer to Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Florida eventually voted to strip Disney of his special tax district, although the final outcome of that bill remains unclear.

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