Howard University gets funding from Disney to support Black storytellers, from animation to virtual reality

The studio will work with the HBCU on a multi-year program dubbed the “Disney Storytellers Fund."

Loading the player...

The Walt Disney Company has partnered with Howard University to support Black content creators and storytellers across disciplines. 

According to a joint release, the studio will work with the HBCU on a multi-year program, dubbed 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 will receive a five-year stipend to pursue content creation across disciplines. (Photo: Jacquelyn Martin/AP, File)

The fund  — which was announced at the ESSENCE Festival of Culture in Burbank, California  — will provide five-year stipends for 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 Disney’s brands, we are working to amplify underrepresented voices and untold stories. 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,” 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 hub for creators inside the new Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts and Howard’s Cathy Hughes School of Communication. 

“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,” actress Phylicia Rashad, dean of the 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 its existing ties with streaming giants, Netflix and Amazon. As previously reported by theGrio, Howard and Netflix last year announced a $5.4 million endowment in the form of the Chadwick A. Boseman Memorial Scholarship, a four-year scholarship that started with the Fall 2021 semester. 

Boseman attended Howard and would go on to become a celebrated A-list actor. The “Black Panther” star died at age 43 in August 2020 following a private battle with colon cancer.

Last September, Howard renamed its fine arts college for the actor and appointed Rashad as dean.

TheGrio is now on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku, and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today!

Loading the player...