Queen & Slim director Melina Matsoukas is partnering with Howard University and Instagram to help amplify and support the stories of aspiring Black storytellers through the newly launched Instagram x Share Black Stories “Future First” Reels Challenge.
The program kicks off today as we enter the second week of Black History Month. “Future First” will feature selected emerging student storytellers from the Howard University Department of Media, Journalism and Film, each of whom will receive a $10,000 production stipend to support costs associated with the creation of their work.
In addition to mentorship provided by Matsoukas and Howard University advisors and educators, the selected student storytellers will have the opportunity to have their content earmarked for sharing across Instagram and other channels on the platform, providing broad reach to the platform’s digital audience.
“Having the ability to create in these spaces and have hundreds of thousands, or millions of people, immediately be able to see, react, respond and be affected by your work is so powerful,” said Matsoukas. “The internet and social media have had a significant impact on the world of media and entertainment, and I am filled with gratitude for this opportunity to work with an historic institution like Howard University, and the team at Instagram, to mentor the next generation of artists, to share what I’ve learned, and to learn from them, too.”
The Howard University Department of Media, Journalism and Film (MJFC) uses comprehensive courses to help prep students for the media landscape of today. Dean Gracie Lawson-Borders sees the partnership as a great opportunity to participate in the Instagram #ShareBlackStories Reels Competition. “It provides a forum to showcase the creativity of our talented students to shine through the Black stories they create.”
Undergraduate and graduate Film and Television Production students study all aspects of the filmmaking process. In addition to expanding students’ skills in scriptwriting, editing, producing, cinematography, documentary film production and directing, this comprehensive program includes coursework that examines the historical and theoretical framework of cinema and television from a global and cultural perspective.
“What an incredible opportunity for the students of Howard University’s Cathy Hughes School of Communications to be working with Instagram Reels, in conjunction with world-renowned director Melina Matsoukas,” said Associate Professor C. L. Tina Morton, the university liaison on this partnership. “Students will create their visual ideas of Black Excellence, and five students will be the recipients of a $10,000 prize for their juried work, selected by Melina Matsoukas.”
Instagram is celebrating Black History Month via #ShareBlackStories, a program and call-to-action to support and inspire the global Black diaspora on Instagram.
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