Yara Shahidi is determined to make the entertainment industry “more equitable”.
The 21-year-old actress has been made the new international thesis adviser at the Ghetto Film School – which aspires to educate and develop the next generation of great storytellers – and Yara is excited to get going in her new role.
She said: “When I think of the impact of Ghetto Film School, I reflect on my own career. Here I sit before you, not only as an actress but as a producer, as a director, an advocate, an entrepreneur and so much more.
“And the reason why I know all of this is possible is precisely because of one thing, which is opportunity. The opportunities that have been given to me by people within my support network who actively believed in me, who invested in me and were ready to see me to my next step and my next evolution.”
The ‘Black-ish’ star – who has also been studying at Harvard University since 2018 – is keen to help make the industry fairer for everyone.
She explained: “It is surreal at the age of 21 to be able to partake in any work that is seen as helping to [make] this industry more equitable.
“I know the stories of our brown and black filmmakers are stories that are necessary on screen, and not just from an artistic standpoint, but from a point of being cultural disruptors who are guiding us to new futures.
“Because of this I cannot believe – and I do not take lightly – the honour of being international thesis adviser.”
Yara has also emphasised the importance of encouraging diverse talent behind the camera.
She told People: “I think the Ghetto Film School [is] a great first start at showing the ways in which tech can come together – and when orientated towards communities that are often unnecessarily marginalised in spaces of art can help solve and answer questions of equity.”