Amazon Studios is the lead sponsor of this year’s Annual Yardfest at Howard University, the historically Black university located in Washington DC.
The university’s most popular concert series also announced that one of the nation’s biggest multinationals, Amazon will be partnering with Howard University to launch Howard Entertainment, a program that aims to diversify the entertainment industry by training African-American students and students from other marginalized communities.
“This program is all about intentionality – being intentional about increasing and preparing the next generation of African American, Latin and Native American storytellers, casts, crew, and executives working on these projects,” said Latasha Gillespie, Amazon Studio’s Global Head of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.
The program is set to begin in January 2020 and includes an interdisciplinary curriculum that will allow Howard students to receive hands-on work experience. The program will specifically train these qualified students to network with Amazon’s industry partners.
Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios, said in a press release that Amazon Studios, in partnership with Howard University, is working on a new venture meant to pave the pathway that will support talented atudents from all backgrounds who are interested in becomingentertainment leaders.
Salke also promised that “diverse perspectives and experiences” will be maintained for the best business decisions as they try to please their Prime Video customers.
A competitive application and interview process will screen interested students to qualify for the program. However, the program is only open to the university’s students who are either upperclassmen or graduate students.
The Howard Entertainment Program will be an immersive 2-semester program based out of Los Angeles and the selected ones will have to stay there. There will be a spring semester and a summer semester. The students will be expected to take academic courses and participate in a fellowship during each semester respectively.
The Howard Faculty will be in charged for teaching the academic courses while the Amazon Studios industry professionals invited by Amazon will be training the students during the fellowship part of the program.
The collaboration is meant to “marry academia and industry efforts to build a robust workforce of diverse entertainment industry leaders,” said Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick in a press release.
Frederick also shared that this relationship will enhance the university’s academic excellence and supplement Howard’s reputation for supplying the notable Hollywood personalities, while still pushing forward their goals of inspiring new knowledge. The program’s fellowship is also expected to provide hands-on experience of working in the entertainment industry as it trains students on the key skills required to make a career in the industry.