Howard University and Amazon Studios have teamed up to launch Howard Entertainment, an innovative new program designed to diversify the pipeline for talent across the entertainment industry. It is slated to begin in January 2020.
The announcement of the program came earlier this month. According to a press release, it will give black students a hands-on experience to network with Amazon’s industry partners and work in the entertainment industry.
“The vision of Howard Entertainment is to offer a one-of-a-kind experience for students interested in all aspects of entertainment, from project greenlighting to PR and marketing, to entertainment law and finance,” said President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA in a statement. “This relationship aligns with Howard’s strategic goals of enhancing academic excellence and inspiring new knowledge. 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.”
Students will be taught by Howard faculty who will be supported by Amazon Studios employees and other industry professionals invited by Amazon. This model will provide the opportunity for students to be engaged in projects that offer “real world” applications and will help students develop “work ready” skills before graduating. Additionally, students will benefit from an innovative application of academic coursework and also hone entrepreneurial skills through the project-based approach.
“Amazon Studios has been working to create new pathways into the industry for talented students of all backgrounds and we are proud to team with Howard on this new program supporting aspiring entertainment leaders,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “As we strive to delight our Prime Video customers, we’re ensuring there are diverse perspectives and experiences around the table to help us make the best decisions in all aspects of the business.”
The Howard Entertainment program is an immersive two-semester experience located in Los Angeles that offers HBCU students the opportunity to take academic courses during the spring semester and participate in a fellowship embedded in the entertainment industry during the summer semester.
Latasha Gillespie, Amazon Studio’s Global Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion said: “This program is all about intentionality—being intentional about increasing and preparing the next generation of African American, Latinx, and Native American storytellers, casts, crew, and executives working on these projects.”