“Star Wars” helmer George Lucas is taking a big step towards a more inclusive film and television industry. The George Lucas Family Foundation has announced that $10 million dollars of its 2006 pledge to the USC School of Cinematic Arts will go towards offering financial support for African-American and Latino students through a special diversity-support fund.
Variety notes that the $10 million donation from the foundation, which is headed by Lucas and his wife, DreamWorks’ Chairman of the Board Mellody Hobson, “marks the largest single donation for student support in the school’s history.”
“Hispanic and African-American storytellers are underrepresented in the entertainment industry,” Lucas commented. “It is Mellody’s and my privilege to provide this assistance to qualified students who want to contribute their unique experience and talent to telling their stories.”
The endowment seeks to add more racial and gender diversity to the film and television industry: The financial support will be distributed evenly between male and female students.
What perfect timing for Lucas to make this contribution in the midst of controversies surrounding race in J.J. Abrams’ “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” It’s safe to say that Lucas is very much in support of black stormtroopers. (Take that, racist “Star Wars” fans!)