The Black TV & Film Collective (BTFC), a nonprofit development and production hub for artists of Black and African descent, announced its merge with The Parity Project, a data-driven organization with the mission to create financial and narrative equity for African American professional writers within the TV industry.

The combined organization will retain the Black TV & Film Collective (BTFC) name and facilitate expanded resources for its combined membership bases. This reinforces the goal to become the hub for the development of Black content creators in all forms. With this merger comes the announcement of an inaugural advisory board with an abundance of industry heavyweights including veteran Producer Cassian Elwes, Tanzanian and American Writer/Director Ekwa Musangi, Showrunner/Producer Ben Watkins, Comedian/activist Aida Rodriguez, Gamechanger CEO Effie Brown, Illustrator/Director/Producer Peter Ramsey, Showrunner/Producer/Writer/Author Jeff Melvoin, and HBO’s Insecure Producer Deniese Davis, among others.

Artists of Black and African descent are systematically shut out of America’s film and TV industry, which has extremely negative impacts throughout the sector, and upon society as a whole. A recent McKinsey report demonstrates that Black creatives are routinely excluded from creator, producer, director and writer positions; and because Black content is consistently undervalued, under distributed, and underfunded, the industry is losing at least $10B each year. For over 8 years, both organizations have worked tirelessly to counteract this long term trend by offering production and career support, mentorship, and networking to their respective members. Services offered by both organizations are designed to ensure that artists of Black and African descent can create financially sustainable careers in the fields of TV, film and digital entertainment. Going forward both organizations are excited to increase their impact as a merged organization.  

In 2020, the Collective launched the Black Producers Fellowship. Through the fellowship, six emerging Black producers were each granted $25,000 in production financing, $25,000 in-kind production equipment, and additional consulting services from producing mentors to complete a short film project. The Parity Project began development of a unique mentorship program for Black TV writers called Each One Teach One, a program focused on pairing established Black showrunners with emerging black writers over a mentorship program.

“We see serving Los Angeles and New York as just the beginning, and over time we will open hubs in other major cities across the United States and world. BTFC Co-Founder and Board Member Huriyyah Muhammad, goes on the share, “We are operating at the forefront of leveraging digital technologies to train, connect and empower Black creatives from around the globe, with the intention of removing as many barriers as possible that have historically kept us out.”  

This announcement also launches a strategic fundraising push aimed to raise $1M to fund future plans that include hiring a full time Executive Director/CEO, increased capacity building, launching new fellowships in the areas of Post-Production Editing and Animation, and expanding their content training hubs to include a showrunner school and digital, on-demand training courses on key production concepts that can be accessed anywhere in the world. 

The exciting juncture of both organizations as they combine forces will aid in their work to achieve equity, access and inclusion on both sides of the camera for artists of Black and African descent. The Parity Project Co-Founder Ron McCants excitedly adds,

“Our future is bright because as Black people, when we join hands with our fellow brothers and sisters, we can level mountains. It is our great superpower. Together, we will do this!” 

This content was originally published here.

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