Netflix Teams With Femi Oguns' Identity School as Part of U.K. Diversity Drive

Femi Oguns
Dan Kennedy

Femi Oguns

The streamer has announced almost $500,000 of investments to support under-represented British talent from Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities.

Netflix has doubled down on its commitment to improving diversity in the U.K.'s film and TV industries, announcing a significant investment that it says will help nurture the next generation of British talent from Black, Asian and ethnic minority communities.

The £350,000 ($480,000) investment — part of a $5 million fund the streamer created in July 2020 — will be split three ways, including going to support 30 full, year-long scholarships for students at the Identity School of Acting. Founded by Femi Oguns, the pioneering London college has been behind the U.K.'s recent crop of diverse talent and counts John Boyega, Letitia Wright and Michaela Coel among its former students.

Elsewhere, the money will go towards doubling the number of young people that youth platform Million Youth Media work with across the U.K. and helping the Mama Youth Project — which trains young people from under-represented backgrounds so they are better prepared for broadcast and media jobs — expand its work.

Speaking about the investment, Netflix's vice president of original series Anne Mensah, said that while the U.K. industry was chasing at a slow pace, "the wealth of young diverse British voices fighting their way to the top of the industry fills me with hope and excitement."

Mensah added: "Creators like Theresa Ikoko, Charlie Covell and John Boyega resonate not just in the UK but across the world. But this is not enough. I believe we need to do more, not just to support the current generation of British talent, but also to develop a more inclusive pipeline of upcoming creatives across the entire production process."

The new investment comes on the heels of a fund to nurture under-represented British voices in documentary making.