HBO is investing in the futures of HBCU students who want to pursue careers in the entertainment industry. The television network has donated $1 million to Howard University for the creation of a new fellowship, the institution reported.
The endowment was unveiled along with the network’s announcement about the upcoming Between the World and Me special which is based on a novel penned by Ta-Nehisi Coates, who attended Howard. The project is being directed and produced by Howard alums Kamilah Forbes and Susan Kelechi Watson. The fellowship—dubbed the Coates-Forbes-Watson-HBO Dream Seekers Endowed Fellowship—will financially support Howard University students pursuing careers in fine arts, communications, law and business who have landed internships in New York, Los Angeles and other places throughout the U.S.
“We are grateful to HBO for their leadership in establishing the Coates-Forbes-Watson-HBO Dream Seekers Endowed Fellowship, which will make it easier for Howard students to make ends meet while pursuing internships and residencies with studios and production companies,” President Wayne A. I. Frederick said in a statement. “I’d also like to thank Ta-Nehisi Coates, Kamilah Forbes and Susan Kelechi Watson for their role in recommending Howard for this opportunity. I know that Howard played an instrumental role in their lives to help them become the incredible artists that they are today, and we are thankful that they continue to pay it forward through their time, talent and treasure.” Casey Bloys, who serves as HBO Programming President, says the endowment will be instrumental in empowering students to “pursue formative opportunities in the arts and entertainment.”
Howard University has been dedicated to changing the narrative surrounding diversity in the entertainment industry. Last year the institution joined forces with Lionsgate to create an internship program to teach students the ins and outs of television and film.