In an effort to address Hollywood’s diversity issue, Howard University has partnered with Lionsgate to create an internship program that provides students with hands-on experience working in the entertainment business.
According to Deadline, the partnership will afford six to 12 Howard University students the opportunity to learn the filmmaking and television business through a paid internship. Lionsgate is the first entertainment company to join forces with Howard for this program, which was first launched by UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.
“Howard University has produced several graduates from film, law, business and theater who have paved their own paths into Hollywood through persistence,” Howard’s President Wayne A.I. Frederick told Deadline. “However, there is more work to do before the entertainment industry reflects the diverse audiences it serves.”
Jay Tucker, who is the executive director at the Center for MEMES (Media, Entertainment & Sports) at UCLA told Deadline that Sen. Kamala Harris, who is a Howard alum, is the one who actually mentioned the internship program idea to Lionsgate.
“She was one of the catalysts to help raise awareness around this opportunity,” Tucker said. “It really helped to get the ball rolling.”
Lionsgate and UCLA hope that its recent partnership with Howard will be the start of more partnerships with other HBCUs and women’s colleges in an effort to increase the entertainment industry’s pipeline of diverse talent.
“Greater diversity and inclusion makes our industry stronger and our films and television series better,” Lionsgate Vice Chairman Michael Burns said. “Not only are we creating opportunities for students in the program, but they in turn are creating opportunities for us to make our workplace more diverse and our storytelling richer and more varied.”
Students who participate in the program will be placed in companies where they work 20 to 25 hours per week and will be paid roughly $13 to $15 an hour.