Filmmaker Spike Lee has partnered with the talent firm, The Gersh Agency to create the Spike Fellows Program, a new fellowship designed to support students at the Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC.)
He is giving back to his alma mater, Morehouse College, along with Spelman College and Clark Atlanta University.
According to Deadline, “The Spike Fellows Program is based on the principle that access plus exposure will create opportunities.” It’s inaugural class will consist of five graduating students from AUCC, who will receive academic debt relief, industry mentorship, post graduate internships, and full-time employment, all provided by Gersh according to the news release.
Spike Lee graduated from Morehouse in 1979 and has been a longtime supporter of HBCUs
“I know firsthand the education one receives at a Historically Black College and University,” Lee said in a statement. “I am who I am because of my grandmother [Zimmie Jackson] and my mother [Jacquelyn Shelton Lee] who both graduated from Spelman College. I am who I am because of my grandfather [Richard Jackson Shelton] and my father [William Lee] who both graduated from Morehouse. It’s on the campuses of Spelman and Morehouse where they met, fell in love and got married. As my elders often told me, ‘Deeds not words’.”
“From the jump, from the get-go, I knew when (not if) I opened a crack in the door, I was bringing as many Black and Brown folks with me in front and behind the camera”– Spike Lee
Gersh’s Head of Culture, Jayson Council is set to lead the program. “As an HBCU graduate, I am extremely proud of Gersh and Spike for their commitment to growing opportunities for AUCC graduates” he said in a statement.
Lee and the agency have made a multi-year commitment to the program and its first cycle starts this month. They also plan to expand the program with more fellows and more resources in the future.
“As industry leaders, we’ve always taken seriously the responsibility to build a more diverse, dynamic ecosystem in which people of all ethnicities, backgrounds and experiences can thrive,” said Gersh Senior Managing Partner, Leslie Siebert in a news release. “We are honored that Spike has chosen us to be his inaugural partner, and we are proud to welcome the five inaugural Spike Fellows into our organization.”