Howard University and Amazon Studios are launching Howard Entertainment for the second consecutive year, a program designed to diversify the entertainment industry by creating a pipeline for African-American students and other underrepresented populations to train and study alongside entertainment executives. Applications will open Monday, September 28, with the program set to restart in January 2021.
“The continuation of Howard Entertainment is a testament to the immediate impact of the program and the resonance of its long-term vision to strive for greater representation across the industry,” said Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick, M.D., MBA. “At Howard, we are always seeking to expand the education of our students by connecting them to experiences that will prepare them to succeed and make a difference. Considering the size and importance of the entertainment industry, I am excited to see our students become leaders in this space. Whether they pursue paths in front of the camera or behind the scenes, Howard Entertainment aims to broaden the range and inclusivity of Hollywood story-telling through the fresh new voices of talent from underrepresented communities.”
Howard Entertainment is an immersive, two semester program that offers Howard University students the opportunity to take academic courses during the spring semester and participate in a fellowship in the entertainment industry during the summer semester. The coursework is applied toward the students’ graduation requirements and the fellowship provides hands-on experience and an opportunity to make networking connections. Guest lecturers for the 2020 cohort included industry notables and Howard alumni, including actress Susan Kelechi Watson; Jeron Smith, CEO and Co-Founder, Unanimous Media; actress Ashley Blaine Featherson; and Charles and Stacy King, the CEO and Chief Brand Officer, and Co-Founders, MACRO.
“After a great experience this year, we are thrilled to not only continue but to expand the Howard Entertainment program for 2021,” said Jennifer Salke, Head of Amazon Studios. “The Howard Entertainment program is one of the ways Amazon Studios is creating new diverse pipeline programs in the entertainment industry for talented students and for employees. We are committed to making Amazon Studios a place where new voices with fresh perspectives are heard and valued, both on and off screen. We know these programs will benefit our industry as a whole in the future.”
The 2021 spring semester will be virtual; summer internships may be virtual or in-person, pending COVID-19 restrictions and local regulations.
“We had extremely high expectations for the Howard Entertainment program and even still, our first cohort surpassed them all. The Howard students were insightful and engaged us in a way that allowed for two-way learning. Their contributions had an enormous impact across every department at Amazon Studios as well as with partners like UTA,” said Latasha Gillespie, Amazon Studios Global Head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “We’re happy to work with Howard again and to open up the program to even more talented students this year.”
Students who wish to apply for admission to Howard Entertainment can contact HowardEntertainment@howard.edu. More information on the program can be found here.