Disney has cooperated with Howard University to assist with propelling open doors for underrepresented students in media and entertainment.
The initiative, the Disney Storytellers Fund at Howard University, was reported by the Walt Disney Company on Sunday at the Essence Festival of Culture.
The multi-year program will give payments over a five-year period for student projects focused on storytelling across animation, digital design, gaming, journalism, live action, performing arts, product design, visual design, virtual reality and more, per the organization.
Disney is likewise funding a new creative collaborative space at the university and says it will give access to speakers, guides and internships to students in the program to assist with igniting interest in the fields expected to construct abilities for a future career in storytelling.
“Across Disney’s brands, we are working to amplify underrepresented voices and untold stories,” says Jennifer Cohen, evp of corporate social responsibility. “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. We are excited to help the next generation of Black storytellers bring their ideas to life.”
Phylicia Rashad, dean of the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts at Howard, added in a statement, “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. The Disney Storytellers Fund is a great support for our emerging artists as they explore and develop their potential within and across disciplines.”
The program is important for Disney’s social investment and collaborations, including young STEM programs, to expand access to careers in storytelling and innovation for the people who have been generally underrepresented.
Likewise at the Essence festival on Friday, Disney uncovered the name, appearance date and more insights concerning its reconsidered Splash Mountain ride, which had been condemned for its racist depictions. The redid attraction, named Tiana’s Bayou Adventure, makes its debut at Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Disneyland in late 2024.
The organization has recently generally experienced fire over its absence of reaction to Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill. Florida ultimately voted to strip Disney of its special tax district, however a definitive result of that bill stays unclear.