From the press release received this afternoon, Fox announced what it's calling "a transformative new partnership" with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) designed to further the development of diverse voices across the company's entertainment businesses.
Called the FOX/HBCU Media Alliance (FHMA), the union will bring HBCU students, faculty and alumni together with executives from Fox's media and entertainment businesses in an effort to build a stronger pipeline for students interested in pursuing careers in the film and TV industry, and advance the careers of HBCU alumni already working in media and entertainment within Fox businesses.
FOX Audience Strategy will spearhead the initiative.
"As a HBCU alumnus, I know first-hand the extraordinary level of talent coming out of these schools... Fox has been a strong supporter of HBCUs, but now we want to elevate those efforts by creating a robust and unprecedented resource that harnesses the talent that HBCUs produce. I am excited that we will have the opportunity – through regional events, workforce initiatives and social networking platforms – to not only identify, cultivate and advance the best and brightest from this vast community, but to provide an array of tangible platforms for their creative gifts.," said Nicole Bernard, Senior Vice President, and head of FOX Audience Strategy, who received her undergrad degree at Howard University before gettint her J.D. at Georgetown University.
"It is exciting to have a major entertainment entity such as FOX do more than simply acknowledge the depth of talent that the African-American community has to offer the filmmaking and entertainment industry, but to also help nurture that talent through these new HBCU initiatives," said Sidney A. Ribeau, President of Howard University.
"We are pleased to learn that FOX Audience Strategy is making a commitment to partner with HBCUs so that the organization might take advantage of the outstanding and talented students, faculty, and alumni found in our institutions... I believe that Fox Entertainment and the country will be better off as a result of this initiative," said Dr. William R. Harvey, President of Hampton University. "
As part of the partnership, FOX Audience Strategy is establishing and funding the first-of-its-kind Fox Film Grant that will enable one FHMA member to participate in Project Involve, the year-long program of Film Independent.
Based in Los Angeles, FHMA will also have chapters in Washington, D.C. and New York City, led by influential HBCU alumni from the media and entertainment industry. At launch, Howard University and Hampton University will serve as inaugural institutional partners. However, membership in the Alliance is open to all current HBCUs, their students, faculty and alumni that work in the media and entertainment sector.
So, in summary, an initiative to increase the participation of black talent in the film and TV industry, with Fox's help.
Let's see where this goes... we'll certainly be watching!