Continuing its strong ties to the entertainment industry, Howard University will be the host of the new “Disney Storytellers Fund,” which will “create opportunities for historically underrepresented students to have future careers as storytellers and innovators in media and entertainment,” according to a joint release.
The new fund was announced Saturday at the Essence Festival of Culture in Burbank, Calif., where the Walt Disney Co. is headquartered.
Howard has existing ties with Netflix and Amazon, among others. Earlier this year, it appointed actress Phylicia Rashad as dean of the recently reestablished College of Fine Arts. The university also renamed that college after Chadwick Boseman, who attended Howard before going on to become an A-list actor playing iconic roles including Black Panther, Thurgood Marshall, Jackie Robinson and James Brown.
The Disney Storytellers Fund at Howard University will provide stipends over a five-year period for student projects focused on storytelling across animation, digital design, gaming, journalism, live action, performing arts, product design, visual design, and virtual reality. Disney will also provide access to speakers, mentors, and internships to students in the program to spark interest in these fields.
“Across Disney’s brands, we are working to amplify underrepresented voices and untold stories,” said Jennifer Cohen, EVP Corporate Social Responsibility, The Walt Disney Company.. “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.”
“Our students at the College of Fine Arts find their creative expression in many ways – in the performing arts, in animation, in the design of the products that we use in life. The Disney Storytellers Fund is a great support for our emerging artists as they explore and develop their potential within and across disciplines,” said Rashad, who started her position as of July 1.
In addition to the Disney Storytellers Fund, Disney will fund the development of a creative collaborative space that will be housed inside the new Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts and the Cathy Hughes School of Communication at Howard University.