GLAAD Announces Inaugural Class for New Equity in Media and Entertainment Initiative (Exclusive)

GLAAD has announced its inaugural cohort of 10 creatives for its newly launched Equity in Media and Entertainment Initiative.

Alexander King, Brandon Nichols, Burt Fryer, Ash Brown, LaQuan Dawson, Michael Donte, Nyala Moon, Olivia Pace, Riley Wilson and Whitney Scourge participate in a three-year program focused on developing and elevating black LGBTQ+ creative work and storytelling. will .

DaShawn Usher, director of GLAAD’s Communities of Color and Media Department, along with associate director Julian J. Walker and junior associate Kayla Thompson, created and led the initiative — which is also supported by Gilead Sciences. — is designed as a pipeline program. Help address the current gap in equal representation on screen and behind the scenes in Hollywood.

Each participating creative will be awarded $10,000 to fund an existing or new creative project they develop during their time to help produce more authentic black stories. In addition to funding, the program will work to strengthen creators’ professional networks while advancing their access to management leadership and insider information and resource spaces.

“While we know we have no shortage of black LGBTQ+ storytellers, creators, and content producers, we still don’t have the same equality or access to tell our stories in entertainment and media. We are a “Excited to launch EMEI at a time that is critical to telling black stories that are fully supported financially, creatively and professionally,” Usher said in a statement. “This year’s collection of visionaries and mentors is the pinnacle of what black LGBTQ+ creators can do when we come together to expand our work.”


Each year will support a different group of Black LGBTQ+ creatives in different fields, with the first year group consisting of short-form filmmakers, followed by television, theater and book writers as part of the second year. . Music artists, songwriters, producers and choreographers are completing the program as part of its third-year creative cohort.

An advisory board of black LGBTQ+ creative professionals will support each year group, shaping their experience with EMEI through recommendations, industry insight, network building and resource sharing.

On board is Tony-winning producer and stage manager Cody Renard-Richard. Director of Corporate Giving at Gilead, Darwin Thompson; Dennis Williams, svp, corporate affairs and corporate social responsibility at WarnerMedia; Hairstylist and Head of Studio Hair Department Derek J. filmmaker Elegance Breton; Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer at Nike Jarvis Sam; Jasmine J. Smith, MS, Manager of Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging at Universal Music Group; Kevin Stuckey, manager of multicultural publicity and community projects at Netflix; costume and set designer Kwame Waters; Revry Inc. Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at LaShawn McGhee; and author, showrunner, executive producer and TV drama writer Rashid Newson.

In addition to meeting quarterly with the advisory board, the group will meet on a virtually monthly basis to discuss its projects. Both groups will make recommendations for quarterly events that support the group’s professional development.

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