Howard University Gets Funding From Disney To Support Black Storytellers

The Walt Disney Company partners with Howard University to support black content creators and storytellers across disciplines.

According to an joint releaseThe studio will partner with the HBCU on a multi-year program called Disney Storytellers Fund to “create opportunities for historically underrepresented students to have future careers as storytellers and innovators in media and entertainment.”

Howard University students who become beneficiaries of the Disney Storytellers Fund receive a five-year stipend to pursue content creation in a variety of disciplines. (Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP, File)

Announced at the ESSENCE Festival of Culture in Burbank, California, the fund will provide five-year stipends to students pursuing a variety of fields, including journalism, digital design, gaming, live action, visual design, performing arts, and virtual reality. In addition, Disney will provide mentors and speakers, as well as internships for students enrolled in the program.

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

The company is also developing a collaborative center for creators within the new Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts and Howard’s Cathy Hughes School of Communication.

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

Howard’s partnership with Disney follows existing ties with streaming giants, Netflix and Amazon. As previously reported by theGrioHoward and Netflix announced a $5.4 million endowment last year in the form of the Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship, a four-year scholarship beginning in the fall of 2021.

Boseman attended Howard and would later become a celebrated A-list actor. The ‘Black Panther’ star died in August 2020 at the age of 43 after a private battle with colon cancer.

Last September, Howard renamed his art school for the actor and appointed Rashad as dean.

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