Board To Be Led By Professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. with Founding Members Including Oscar-Winners Viola Davis, Ezra Edelman, Jodie Foster, Meryl Streep, and Grammy Award-Winning Artist Residente
During the Univision Communications Inc. (UCI) annual Upfront presentation today, FUSION TV announced that it is bringing together a cross-section of marquee talent—actors, filmmakers, academics, and musicians—to form the FUSION TV Creative Board (see video announcement here). The FUSION TV Creative Board will work to identify the next generation of creators and build a pipeline of diverse talent the network can tap into. Members of the Board will also play a role in FUSION TV’s content development process, helping to curate some of the best untold stories that connect with the passions and values of the country’s diverse youth. The announcement furthers the network’s commitment to delivering enriching content that authentically represents today’s America.
Founding members of the FUSION TV Creative Board collectively have been recognized with 7 Academy Awards, 5 Emmys, and 25 Grammy Awards among other prestigious honors. Members include:
- Viola Davis has won rave reviews for her intriguingly diverse roles and is the only black actor to have won an Academy Award, Emmy Award and Tony Award in an acting category — known as the Triple Crown of Acting. Viola and her husband Julius Tennon, who will join her on the board, formed JuVee productions. Through JuVee they are giving a voice for the voiceless through premium character-driven stories in film, television, theater and digital content across all spaces of narrative entertainment. “We at JuVee believe that every voice needs to be heard. Quality is our mantra. Inclusive is our reality,” said Tennon.
- Ezra Edelman is an Oscar-winning documentary producer and director. He recently won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for directing “O.J.: Made in America,” which put a fresh and honest spotlight on the infamous case that divided America along racial lines. Edelman is the son of children’s rights activist Marian Wright Edelman and Georgetown University law professor Peter B. Edelman.
- Jodie Foster is an Oscar-winning actress and filmmaker who has had a tremendous impact within the LGBT community. Throughout her incredible career Foster has won two Academy Awards, three BAFTA Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and a Screen Actors Guild Award among other notable honors.
- Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Chair) has repeatedly been recognized as one of the most influential African Americans in the country. He is an Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, literary scholar, journalist, cultural critic, and institution builder. Gates currently serves as a professor of African and African-American studies at Harvard and is the founder and chairman of The Root, Fusion Media Group’s leading African American news and culture publication. Gates has produced more than 15 films and documentary series about African, Afro-Latino, and African American history including “Finding Your Roots” and the six-part PBS documentary series, “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross,” which he wrote, executive produced, and hosted. “Many Rivers to Cross” was honored with an Emmy Award, Peabody Award, NAACP Image Award, and an Alfred I. duPont–Columbia University Award.
- Meryl Streep is one of the most recognized actresses in the world with 20 Academy Awards nominations, more than any other actor or actress. President Barack Obama awarded her the 2010 National Medal of Arts and in 2014 the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2017, when she was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes, Streep used her platform for a purpose, reminding the country that “when the powerful use their position to bully, we all lose.”
- Residente (aka René Perez Joglar) is a Puerto Rican rapper, writer, producer and the co-founder of alternative rap duo ‘Calle 13.’ He also is the recipient of a Nobel Peace Summit Award and 25 Latin Grammys – the most ever awarded to a Latin artist. Throughout his career Residente has been recognized for his social contributions. He has consistently defended education in Latin America and the rights of the natives and serves as the face of campaigns for UNICEF and Amnesty International.
“To start addressing the challenges the media industry faces when it comes to the diversity gap, we need to bring together people who are champions of genuine change. People who, in terms of diversity and access to the media, are committed to transforming what is, and are inspired by what could be,” said Gates, who will lead the Creative Board. “The individuals who have committed to serving on the FUSION TV Creative Board are unafraid to color outside the lines or think beyond the script, so together we have an incredible opportunity to find and affirm the next generation of creative talent who will truly represent today’s America. We hope the rest of the industry will support and join us in our efforts.”
A central part of FUSION TV’s mission is to provide resources and a platform to creators—those who span different ethnicities, races, sexual orientations, genders and religions—to tell authentic stories that represent the shared values and passions of America’s diverse youth.
“Whether we are talking about pop culture or politics, technology or sports, we are in the business of representing and amplifying the voices of multicultural communities in the United States. The group who will lead our Creative Board understands the need for greater diversity in media, often from firsthand experience, and are passionate about doing something about it,” said Daniel Eilemberg, President of FUSION TV. “We look forward to collaborating with them to ensure that the stories we tell on our network and platforms resonate with our audience because they are representative of who they are as individuals.”