At Lion Speaks, we amplify Black narratives in the media and entertainment realm, while also championing the broader BIPOC community. Our purpose is to elevate stories from diverse heritages and empower creators with mentorship, training, and job opportunities.
Film and television are powerful storytelling tools that shape our sense of self and what it means to be an American. Because non-BIPOC producers typically tell the stories of Black Americans and other people of color, they tend to distort and diminish our lives and experiences.
UCLA Hollywood diversity report
In mainstream entertainment, talent of color is underrepresented across the entire industry, but particularly in off-screen positions with creative control. Less than 25 percent of films produced in the United States have writers, directors, or producers who are people of color or women.
Lack of wealth and privilege are a barrier to entry into the entertainment industry. The current media production culture asks those wanting access to work for free to gain experience.
Aspiring creatives from communities of color are faced with a pay-to-play catch 22: Makeup artists, grips, set decorators, film editors, cinematographers, and more are all represented by various unions that remain overwhelmingly White. One must have union membership to get work; one must have experience on set to gain union membership; and one must, ultimately, work for free to gain experience. Because of this, most of the media production industry revolves around non BIPOC connections.
Lion Speaks produces creative projects that put people of color “behind the lens” to tell stories that speak to the experiences, struggles, and triumphs of life in our communities.
We work to secure funding for our projects through a combination of grants, philanthropic donations, and investments with partnering production companies. Creative agency and control remain in the hands of our storytellers.
Lion Speaks provides extensive paid training programs for people of color who want to learn any of the various crafts required in media production. As successful Black professionals in media production, we have experience making films and telling stories. We recruit top professionals in every production department to train and mentor our apprentices. Each of our storytelling projects becomes a robust training ground for creatives of color.
As we intentionally advance the careers of Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, we do far more than train people - we are creating a path for future careers. Our mentorship and training programs lead to incubators. Our major productions lead to job placement and union qualification. At every step, our apprentices are building experience and connections to tell whatever story they desire.
501(c)3 Tax ID# 85-1637060
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