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American Black Film Festival Honors Awards Ceremony - Arrivals

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Award-winning film and music director Melina Matsoukas partnered with Howard University and Instagram to amplify and support the stories of aspiring Black storytellers through Instagram’s Share Black Stories “Future First” reels challenge. The program launched today featuring selected emerging student storytellers from Howard University’s Department of Media, Journalism and Film.

This new program is full of great opportunities for young storytellers eager to breakthrough the industry. Each student received a $10,000 stipend to support production costs associated with creating their independent projects. The Queen and Slim director has also signed on to provide mentorship for the students selected int he program along with Howard University advisors and educators.

The students will also have an opportunity for their content to be shared across Instagram’s official account and other selected channels on the platform. This is a huge win for the up and comers in television and film who will reach a larger digital audience.

Associate Professor of the university’s School of Communications Professor C. L. Tina Morton, who serves as the university liaison on the partnership, comments on the opportunity for Howard’s students.

“What an incredible opportunity for the students of Howard University’s Cathy Hughes School of Communications to be working with Instagram Reels, in conjunction with world renowned director Melina Matsoukas, “ said Associate Professor C. L. Tina Morton. “Students will create their visual ideas of Black Excellence, and five students will be the recipients of a $10,000.00 prize for their juried work, selected by Melina Matsoukas.”

In an effort to enhance Black voices during Black History Month, this partnership is a powerful push for amplifying diverse stories and the voices of the future.

Matsoukas speaks to the importance of feeling seen in media, “Having the ability to create in these spaces and have hundreds of thousands, or millions of people, immediately be able to see, react, respond and be affected by your work is so powerful.”

She continues with why partnering with a social media platform like Instagram is transformative to the world of media and entertainment today.

“The internet and social media have had a significant impact on the world of media and entertainment, and I am filled with gratitude for this opportunity to work with an historic institution like Howard University, and the team at Instagram, to mentor the next generation of artists, to share what I’ve learned, and to learn from them, too,” Melina continues.

The world-renowned Howard University Department of Media, Journalism and Film has a curriculum in place to prepare students for the media world of today and the future through comprehensive core courses.

Dean Gracie Lawson-Borders shares her excitement for this opportunity for their students.

“This partnership is an awesome opportunity for our students to participate in the Instagram #Share Black Stories Reels Competition,” says Dean Gracie Lawson-Borders. “It provides a forum to showcase the creativity of our talented students to shine through the Black stories they create.”

Instagram began celebrating stories from Black creators when they launched the #ShareBlacksStories during Black History Month in 2019. Now, continuing the mission in a more impactful way, Instagram users are encouraged to share their stories with this new program to support and inspire the global Black diaspora on Instagram.

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