Category: Fellowships/Programs

American Black Film Festival’s Greenlighters Academy Returns to Los Angeles for 2nd Year July 22-25 to Help Train Future Filmmakers

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

ABFF Ventures, parent company of the American Black Film Festival, recently announced the current class of student fellows accepted into its 2018 ABFF Greenlighters Academy. The second annual event, sponsored by Turner, is a pipeline program designed to give students of color with an interest in the executive track, a firsthand look inside the corporate footprint of the film and television industry.

The ABFF Greenlighters Academy is a three-day intensive boot camp, where five students will attend sessions with top artists and industry executives. The program includes “Day in the Life” seminars, Power Lunch sessions, and “Ask Me Anything” roundtable discussions, as well as visits to corporate headquarters of film and television studios and talent agencies. Additionally, the program’s laser-interviews are designed to prepare students for summer internships.

“The ABFF Greenlighters Academy is another extension of our company’s 22-year commitment to fostering diversity in Hollywood. We could not be more pleased to partner with Turner, a major festival supporter, on this effort to usher in the next generation of industry executives,” states Nicole Friday, General Manager of ABFF Ventures, LLC.

“Diversity fuels our stories and more importantly, our future,” says Danette Johnson, Vice President of Diversity & Inclusion for Turner.  “We are proud to partner with ABFF’s Greenlighters Academy to invest in these talented students who will help shape Turner’s future as we seek to become an even better reflection of our audiences and build deeper connections with our fans.”

The ABFF Greenlighters Academy is open to sophomore students and above, matriculated in a four-year bachelor degree program at an accredited college or university, with a minimum GPA of 3.0.  This years’ fellows listed below were selected from over 100 submissions representing a wide-range of colleges and universities across the country.

Kiana Chambers, Howard University
Zontre City, Loyola University
Jazmin Johnson, Florida A&M
Jordan Landy, Drexel University
Stevee-Rayne Warren, Southern University and A&M College

Last year’s participants were able to secure internships and employment with companies including Viceland, Facebook Watch and Full Sail University.

ABOUT THE COMPANY

ABFF Ventures L.L.C. (ABFFV) is a leading entertainment company producing live events, film and television primarily targeted to African American audiences.  The company’s mission is to produce global platforms that showcase the work of people of African heritage and promote camaraderie among multicultural artists in Hollywood. Its tentpole properties are the American Black Film Festival (ABFF), cited by MovieMaker magazine as “One of the Coolest Festivals in the World,” and ABFF Honors, an award season gala saluting excellence in Hollywood. Together, they represent two of the most prestigious events in the Black community and parallel the Sundance Film Festival and the Golden Globes.  In creating ABFF Ventures, CEO Jeff Friday channeled his discomfort with the under-representation of people of color in Hollywood into an organization that has become a highly respected enterprise, generating goodwill throughout the industry at large.

Christina Lewis’ All Star Code Nonprofit Raises Over $1 Million to Expand STEM “Summer Intensive” Program for Boys of Color

by Selena Hill via blackenterprise.com

All Star Code (ASC) will carry out its mission to educate, prepare, and place young men of color in the tech industry through its fifth annual “Summer Intensive” STEM summer program. The nonprofit announced Tuesday that it raised over $1 million for the growth and development of the program. ASC also received a record number of applicants—nearly 1,000 for just 160 spots. According to Christina Lewis, who founded ASC in 2013, the organization is on track to educate a total of 10,000 young black and Latino men in tech and entrepreneurship by 2022.

“All Star Code’s impact continues to spread as we establish a pipeline of talented and ambitious young entrepreneurs who are ready to enter the tech industry,” said Lewis in a statement. “Tech is one of the most influential and lucrative industries, so it’s vital that Black and Latino young men are better represented in this space to capture its economic opportunity.”

BOYS WILL LEARN WEB DEVELOPMENT AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN STEM SUMMER PROGRAM 

ASC’s flagship “Summer Intensive” program is a free six-week course that teaches students web development skills and about entrepreneurship. It also empowers students with soft skills and a network of like-minded peers. It will take place in New York City and Pittsburgh.

The effectiveness of All Star Code’s curriculum is amplified by corporate partners like AT&T, Cisco, Goldman Sachs, Google, JPMorgan Chase, MLB, and Medidata, as well as the academic institutions Chatham University and the University of Pittsburgh School of Education, which provide operational and financial support and services. Through these partnerships, students will gain access to mentorships, speakers, and professional work culture.

Since its creation in 2013, about 300 students have participated in ASC’s flagship summer programs. Of the summer intensive students, 95% of All Star Code graduates have gone on to four-year colleges, while half of the graduates have created their own business or tech-related project, reads the press release.

Lewis says she was inspired by her late father, iconic businessman Reginald F. Lewis, to launch ASC as a vehicle to diversify the tech space. “I channeled his legacy to start All Star Code,” she said. Before his death in 1993, Reginald created TLC Beatrice International Holdings, the first black-owned global enterprise to earn more than a billion dollars in revenue. “I realized that if my father were a young man today, he would no doubt be working in technology, the growth industry for building wealth in the 21st century,” Lewis told Black Enterprise.

Source: http://www.blackenterprise.com/black-boys-stem-summer-program/

Denzel Washington Paid for ‘Black Panther’ star Chadwick Boseman to Study at Oxford

"Black Panther" star Chadwick Boseman
“Black Panther” star Chadwick Boseman (Albert L. Ortega | Getty Images)

by  via cnbc.com

Chadwick Boseman, the 41-year-old star of Black Panther, may have Oscar-winner and 2018 nominee Denzel Washington to thank for some of his success. While studying at Howard University in the late ’90s, Boseman and some of his peers applied to a prestigious summer theater program at The University of Oxford. The group of students got in, but they couldn’t afford to go.

One of their acting teachers at Howard, actress Phylicia Rashad from The Cosby Show, “pushed for us,” Boseman told Rolling Stone. “She essentially got some celebrity friends to pay for us to go.” It wasn’t until after the program when he got a beneficiary letter and found out who funded the program: “Denzel paid for me. I’m sure he has no idea. … I’ve been waiting to meet him, so I can tell him.”

Boseman wrote Washington a thank-you letter, but he didn’t tell anyone else about it for two decades. “I’ve basically been holding this secret my whole career,” he told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show, explaining that he didn’t want Washington to feel like he owed him anything else.

Boseman wanted to meet Washington in person before saying anything. He hadn’t met him before the Rolling Stone interview but, after 20 years, he figured it was OK to reveal the detail. As Boseman told Fallon: “I think I’ve made it to the point where he’s not going to think I’m trying to get something from him by saying it.”

Coincidentally, just before the Rolling Stone feature came out, Boseman got to meet his benefactor. Washington came to the New York premiere of “Black Panther,” and, “I met him, before the article came out,” Boseman told Fallon. “So I actually lived up to what I originally wanted to do. It was amazing.”

When Fallon asked how the introduction went, Boseman recalled how he thanked him for paying for Oxford a while back, to which Washington jokingly replied: “Oh, so that’s why I’m here. You owe me money! I came to collect!”

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/02/denzel-washington-paid-for-chadwick-boseman-to-study-at-oxford.html

NBA Star Kevin Durant Invests $10 Million to Help Maryland Youth Get into and Graduate College

Kevin Durant (photo via kulturehub.com)

by Thomas Heath via washingtonpost.com

Kevin Durant knows about starting at the bottom rung. But he is blessed with a gift to play basketball, which is not just a paycheck, but a ticket to worlds with other possibilities. He has used that access to create business opportunities beyond the world of sports, such as in technology.

What I love about tech is, I love watching the world advance,” said the 29-year-old star of the Golden State Warriors, who invests through his Durant Company. “I love the connections of people on Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter. I would look at it like [Cornelius] Vanderbilt, who built the railroad. He connected us. The next advancement connecting us to each other is social media. I want to be part of that.” His interest in technology connected him to Laurene Powell Jobs and has led to a new philanthropic venture.

Durant has committed $10 million and partnered with the Prince George’s public schools on a program called College Track, which was created more than 20 years ago in California by Powell Jobs and others. College Track helps disadvantaged kids — like Durant once was — attend college and get launched into life.

A Kevin Durant Charity Foundation rendering. Durant is launching a College Track chapter in his former Prince George’s County neighborhood. (Kevin Durant Charity Foundation)

Durant is dropping a life-ladder called the Durant Center smack in the middle of the Seat Pleasant, Md., area where he grew up. It isn’t an elevator. The 60 students in the initial group must climb the ladder themselves.

But it’s a path.

“I want them to see the world,” Durant said in a phone interview this month. “I want them to see where people are from and see that there are things outside their world. I don’t know exactly or at what pace that they will get it, but there is a world outside that they need to see.”

Durant’s $10 million will seed construction and operating expenses of a local chapter of College Track, which is scheduled to open this year.

“This hits home, because it’s right in the neighborhood where me and my buddies lived,” said the 6-foot-11 “small” forward.

College Track is a 10-year program that provides the basic infrastructure — tutoring, test preparation, picking a college that is a “fit” and how to get financial aid — that kids from less-advantaged families often don’t have.

“These are all the things that middle-class families deliver if your parents went to college,” said Elissa Salas, College Track’s chief executive. “If your parents didn’t go to college, we fill that gap.”

Continue reading “NBA Star Kevin Durant Invests $10 Million to Help Maryland Youth Get into and Graduate College”

Ava DuVernay, Netflix, Issa Rae, Dan Lin and Others Partner With City Of L.A. on Inclusion Initiative, the Evolve Entertainment Fund

by Dominic Patten via deadline.com

“As we radically reimagine Hollywood, it is critically important that young people are included in our vision,” Ava DuVernay said today at the unveiling of the Evolve Entertainment Fund in Los Angeles.

“Real change happens when we take tangible action, and that means giving young women and people of color opportunities in the industry early on so they have the chance to shape its future,” the A Wrinkle on Time director and ARRAY founder added of the new partnership between the City of L.A, studios, networks and nonprofits that seeks to provide placement in the industry for those traditionally left on the outside.

“What is one thing that people can do to instigate inclusion on film set? Hire a woman,” Oscar nominee DuVernay also made a point of noting. “Films directed by women have 76% percent more inclusion across people of color and women.”

Teaming-up with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Issa Rae Productions, Dan Lin’s Rideback, ARRAY, WME, Netflix, HBO, Film Independent, CAA, UTA, Anonymous Content, Lionsgate, Charles D King’s MACRO, Oprah Winfrey Network, the Sundance Institute, Shondaland, Ryan Murphy, Innovative Artists and Warner Bros, among others, the EEF intends to raise over $5 million to fund programs up to and beyond 2020.

With emphasis on creating TV, film and digital career opportunities for people of color, women and low-income residents of the City of Angles and securing mini-grants and placement for eligible filmmakers, the newly announced EEF has already established 150 paid summer internships for students participating in the HIRE LA’s Youth program working with 9-1-1 EP Murphy’s production company, DreamWorks Animation and Kobe Bryant’s Granity Studios. The hope is that the trajectory of those internships will expand to 250 by the end of the year, and up to 500 placements by 2020. Continue reading “Ava DuVernay, Netflix, Issa Rae, Dan Lin and Others Partner With City Of L.A. on Inclusion Initiative, the Evolve Entertainment Fund”

Music Legend Sonny Rollins Endows “Sonny Scholars” Jazz Ensemble at Oberlin College

Jazz Master Sonny Rollins (photo via knkx.org)

via jbhe.com

Sonny Rollins, the legendary jazz saxophonist, has made a generous contribution to establish the Sonny Rollins Jazz Ensemble Fund at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music in Ohio.

Beginning in spring 2018, Oberlin College jazz studies majors may audition for the Oberlin Sonny Rollins Jazz Ensemble. Each student’s candidacy will be considered on the basis of four criteria: an audition for Oberlin’s jazz faculty, evidence of academic achievement, thoughtful response to a question about the place of jazz in the world, and service to humanity.

“Sonny Scholars” must dedicate at least two semesters to performing in the ensemble. They must also complete a winter-term project that embodies Rollins’ spirit of giving.

In explaining the rationale for this aspect of the program, Sonny Rollins said “people are hungry for a reason to live and to be happy. We’re asking these young musicians to look at the big picture, to tap into the universal power of a higher spirit, so they can give people what they need. Giving back to others teaches inner peace and inner spirituality. Everything is going to be open for them if they devote themselves in this way.”

Rollins gift to Oberlin grew out of his friendship with author and musician James McBride, a 1979 graduate of Oberlin College. The gift was made in recognition of the institution’s long legacy of access and social justice advocacy. In particular, Rollins was moved by Oberlin’s place as the first institution of higher learning to adopt a policy to admit students of color and the first to confer degrees to women, and by the contributions of alumni such as Will Marion Cook, a black violinist and composer who graduated in 1888 and who went on to become an important teacher and mentor to Duke Ellington.

Andrea Kalyn, dean of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, stated “that the legendary Sonny Rollins — an artist of truly extraordinary accomplishment, soulfulness, and character — would entrust Oberlin to steward his legacy is the highest honor, and deeply humbling.”

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2017/11/music-legend-sonny-rollins-endows-a-jazz-ensemble-at-oberlin-college/

NYC Men Teach Initiative Recruits Black Men As Public School Teachers

(Image: iStock/asiseeit via blackenterprise.com)

by Robin White Goode via blackenterprise.com

Efforts are underway to recruit more teachers of color, and one such successful initiative is in New York. NYC Men Teach was started two years ago under Mayor Bill de Blasio; the program is part of the mayor’s Young Men’s Initiative (YMI), started under former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

NYC Men Teach, a three-year pipeline program, has a goal of recruiting 1,000 men of color into the teaching profession. Two years into the program, it has already recruited 900 men.

Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, under whose purview YMI falls, said that the program is a priority because of the administration’s commitment to equity. “This is a critically important issue,” Buery stated. “We’re in a crisis in terms of diversity in our nation’s teaching force. The real question is, why aren’t men of color entering the teaching profession and why aren’t they staying there?”

In New York, students of color make up a majority of the city’s public school students; more than 43% are boys of color. Yet only 8.3% of its teachers are black, Latino, or Asian men.

This matters because research shows that, especially for low-income black boys, having a black teacher significantly lowers—by 39%—the likelihood that they will drop out of high school. Interestingly, other studies have suggested all students prefer teachers of color.

It’s also worrisome, Buery pointed out, that 85% of white students in New York State attend a school without a black or Latino principal or assistant principal. Those kids are going to school seeing “no model of black or Latino leadership or authority in the building,” Buery said.

But to get them in the building requires getting over hurdles that can be barriers to entering the profession. “In talking to the teachers, we’ve learned that many men of color have not had positive school experiences themselves,” Buery told me. “That can have an impact on their willingness to pursue a teaching career.”

Anecdotally, Buery is getting positive feedback about NYC Men Teach. The recruited men are being retained and finding support. It’s too early for quantitative results—and some results won’t be apparent for years, not until today’s students are faring well in college.

But in the end, it’s not just about academics, Buery said. “It’s about citizenship and leadership. It’s about having people see a vision of the world where people of all races lead and guide. We need our schools to look like the world we’re trying to create.”

For more about NYC Men Teach, visit its website.

To read full article, go to: http://www.blackenterprise.com/education/3-year-pipeline-initiative-recruits-men-color-teaching-profession/

Rap Video on Instagram by #blackgirlsrock in NY Celebrates STEM and Education

For anyone who needs a pick-me-up, a hot beat and some fresh motivation today, watch the treat of a music video below!

Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Dawoud Bey, Rhiannon Giddens, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Tyshawn Sorey and Jesmyn Ward Receive 2017 MacArthur “Genius” Grants

2017 MacArthur Fellowship Recipients Dawoud Bey, Rhiannon Giddens, Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Tyshawn Sorey and Jesmyn Ward (Photo collage via blavity.com)

via blavity.com

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has announced the winners of this year’s fellowship, better known as the “genius” grant. 24 fellows were chosen, whose professions range immensely across the board. There are historians and musicians, computer scientists and social activists, writers, and architects.

What they all have in common is that each of the recipients has been selected for having “shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction” — and each will receive a $625,000 award from the foundation “as an investment in their potential,” paid out over five years with no strings attached. This year, there were six black recipients of the amazing award:

1. Njideka Akunyili Crosby, 34, painter living in Los Angeles

“Njideka Akunyili Crosby is visualizing the complexities of globalization and transnational identity in works that layer paint, photographic imagery, prints, and collage elements.”

2.  Dawoud Bey, 63, photographer and educator living in Chicago

“Dawoud Bey is using an expansive approach that creates new spaces of engagement within cultural institutions, making them more meaningful to and representative of the communities in which they are situated.” Continue reading “Njideka Akunyili Crosby, Dawoud Bey, Rhiannon Giddens, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Tyshawn Sorey and Jesmyn Ward Receive 2017 MacArthur “Genius” Grants”

Occidental College in Los Angeles to Create $40 Million Endowment for Barack Obama Scholars Program

Barack Obama in Occidental’s Clapp Library sometime between 1979 and 1981. (PHOTO: THOMAS GRUMMAN)

by Mike McPhate via nytimes.com

It has long been one of the lesser-known facts about the life of Barack Obama. For all the talk about the former president and his Ivy alma maters — Columbia University and Harvard Law School — he actually spent the first two years of his higher education life, from 1979 to 1981, attending Occidental College in Los Angeles.

For Occidental, or Oxy as it is known, Mr. Obama has long been its little-known claim to fame. That may be about to change for this 2,000-student private liberal arts college founded in 1887. Occidental is announcing on Wednesday the creation of the Barack Obama Scholars Program, a $40 million endowment intended to cover the $70,000 annual tab of tuition and board for 20 students a year.

It will be aimed at providing four-year scholarships to veterans, community college transfers and those who are the first in their family to go to college. “My years at Occidental College sparked my interest in social and political causes, and filled me with the idea that my voice could make a difference,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. He said he hoped this program would “train the next generation of leaders and active citizens, and fill them with the conviction that they too can change the world.”

The program has raised $7 million, enough to fund two scholarships, starting next fall. The goal is to create a big enough endowment to fund not only scholarships but post-graduation fellowships for students who head into low-paying fields. Mr. Obama, who has been doing quite well financially since leaving the White House, has not yet written a check, but the president of Occidental, Jonathan Veitch, said the former president was high on his list of asks. “I am going all over the world asking people for money,” he said. “Why wouldn’t I ask him?”

“There are not many liberal arts colleges that educate a president,” Mr. Veitch said. “We are very proud of the fact and very proud of him. We thought this would be a great way to honor him and have our students emulate the values he represents.”

Source: California Today: L.A. College Teams Up With a Former Student, Barack Obama – NYTimes.com