If Wiley College sounds familiar to you, it may be because you have an encyclopedic knowledge of black history of you’ve watched The Great Debaters, which tells the story of the Texas HBCU’s debate team in the 1930s. Because things are always best when they come full circle, a leading actor from the 2007 film is giving back to the institution.

Nate Parker, who starred in The Great Debaters and directed the upcoming The Birth of a Nation, is helping Wiley College launch a new film and drama program, according to the Root. The Nate Parker School of Film and Drama will admit its first group of students this fall.

“The hope is that we cover all aspects of filmmaking, from sound, lighting and cinematography to just studying film specifically with the cultural component and the history of film,” Parker said.

“You control the moving picture, you control the masses,” he continued. “So really getting them rallied around the idea of reclaiming the narrative of America, specifically through the eyes of people of color.”

While the semester program doesn’t officially open to Wiley College students until the fall, 30 high school and college students will get to test it out with a nine-day seminar this summer.

Many have said that a large portion of the responsibility to fix the lack of representation in Hollywood falls on minorities. Well, Nate Parker has already directed, written, and produced The Birth of a Nation, he’s now taking it a step further and laying the groundwork for future creatives to get their starts.


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