NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two Tennessee State University students have been selected as ambassadors for the inaugural launch of the Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios Storytellers Lab. The Storytellers Lab is an initiative designed to create partnerships with HBCUs to cultivate diverse creator pipelines within the entertainment industry.
Showtime selected TSU students Billy Ashton Briggs and DeShonda Kennerson, both juniors studying mass communication.
The initiative will consist of a nine-month experience that equips HBCU students with the skills and insights to become the next generation of content creators.
Briggs said he is grateful for the opportunity as he looks forward to honing his skills in the creative process and digital media production. “I was beyond elated when I found out that I was selected for this program,” Briggs said. “I am excited to showcase my talent in writing and to elevate my craft. This opportunity not only grants access to a challenging industry but also imparts essential fundamentals crucial for my long-term growth.”
Kennerson of Louisiana said being an ambassador for this program is one of the greatest opportunities she’s ever received.
“Writing has been my passion for as long as I can remember, and this feels like a dream come true,” Kennerson said. “I am honored to be a part of this program and I hope that it will open many doors for me as a writer and producer in the entertainment industry.”
Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis, Dean of TSU’s College of Liberal Arts, said she appreciates that Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios recognized the creativity and abilities of TSU’s communication students.
“This is the very definition of a high-impact practice, where students can actively participate in these workshops with industry professionals who have proven success while they’re getting their degrees. They can step directly from the classroom into working for these organizations,” Dr. Morgan-Curtis said. “These are students who are known and capable and demonstrate each day that they are ready for this.”
The inaugural class of the Showtime/MTV Entertainment Studios Storytellers Lab includes 11 fellow HBCUs as well.
Students will receive access to mentorship and masterclasses with leaders across Paramount Global, as well as insider perspectives on the creative processes of content development, the release states.
Ti-Shea Meadows, Vice President of Operations and Channel Planning at SHOWTIME/MTV Entertainment Studios & Paramount Media Networks, said this initiative underscores the commitment to fostering diverse talent and amplifying underrepresented voices for the next generation of storytellers.
“Together, we are forging a path that transcends traditional boundaries, celebrating diversity, creativity, and the power of storytelling,” Meadows said. “The innovative narratives, inspiring voices, and groundbreaking ideas that will undoubtedly emerge from this collaboration are highly anticipated.” Meadows is also the Head of the Storytellers Lab. “As we dive into this immersive program, we anticipate an enriching and transformative experience for both students and mentors alike.”
National events on participating HBCU campuses will be rolling out this spring.