USC Annenberg and HBO launch Diverse Voices Forums

Shared learning forums to address diversity in media and entertainment

USC Annenberg and Home Box Office, Inc. have jointly created a year-long series designed to connect HBO’s top talent and producers with USC Annenberg students and faculty to explore the role of diversity in the future of entertainment. 

The Diverse Voices Forums kick off this week with David Simon, author, journalist, writer, producer and creator of critically lauded HBO drama series The Wire, and the current dramatic series, The Deuce, in conversation with USC Annenberg’s Taj Frazier, director of the Institute of Diversity and Empowerment at USC Annenberg (IDEA). In addition, Simon will engage in a classroom discussion with undergraduate students in Frazier’s course “Race and Ethnicity in Entertainment and the Arts.”

Diverse Voices Forums are open to all USC students and will run through the 2017/18 academic year. Each session will explore issues related to diversity, including race, gender, sexual orientation, age and ability, as depicted by popular HBO original series and through the lens of communication studies and journalism. Following David Simon of The Deuce, USC Annenberg will host talent working in front and behind the camera from top HBO shows that may include Insecure, Ballers, Silicon Valley or Westworld, among others. Each event is designed to offer students an exclusive opportunity to explore these issues in the classroom and in larger, interactive forums with talent representing unique perspectives and voices within the creative community. 

USC Annenberg Dean Willow Bay underscored how the new series will further the school’s commitment to creating new opportunities for dialogue. “We are thrilled to form and strengthen partnerships with industry leaders such as HBO to position USC Annenberg along communication’s new frontier,” Bay said. “Our faculty are thought leaders on topics of race, gender and representation in media and will dive deep to look at HBO’s role in amplifying voices of difference.”

“HBO is thrilled to be collaborating with Willow Bay and the USC Annenberg team on this thoughtful forum,” said Richard Plepler, chairman & CEO of HBO. “USC Annenberg is the perfect setting for meaningful engagement between talent and students as this will allow for a better understanding of the creative process and the importance of diverse voices in the landscape.” 

Read Deadline’s coverage of the forum here.