Freeform’s Tara Duncan to lead new Hulu brand for creators of color

Freeform’s Tara Duncan to lead new Hulu brand for creators of colorMay 18, 2021

“We have the opportunity to tell transformative stories that authentically represent our audience and are essential to our success,” Duncan said.

Disney General Entertainment has announced the launch of the Onyx Collective, a new content brand on Hulu designed to curate a slate of premium entertainment by creators of color and underrepresented voices.

Read More: Hulu acquires ‘1619 Project’ docuseries produced by Oprah

Freeform president Tara Duncan will lead the initiative while continuing her duties at the Disney subsidiary.

Per press release, Onyx Collective is a reflection of Disney General Entertainment’s commitment to inclusive storytelling from creators of color that resonate in the U.S. and around the globe.

Hulu will serve as a primary home for Onyx Collective titles, though the roster of creators under the Onyx Collective brand will have access to all Disney platforms. Select titles will also be available internationally on Disney+ as part of the Star general entertainment offering. 

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Tara Duncan via Twitter

“Our industry is immeasurably enriched by the incredible talents of emerging and established creators of color. Launching Onyx Collective allows us to be the best partners to those creators, providing them with the support they need to do their best work,” Dana Walden, chairman of entertainment at Walt Disney Television, said in a statement, as reported by Variety.

“Tara Duncan is a gifted executive with fantastic instincts. With her leading this talented team, we have the opportunity to tell transformative stories that authentically represent our audience and are essential to our success.”

Duncan said: “We’re building a home where creators of color are inspired, empowered and have unparalleled access to reach audiences around the world. This artist-first approach will make Onyx Collective synonymous with entertaining, brave and bold ideas told from a distinct point of view. I’m humbled by the opportunity and all of the possibilities.”

The recently acquired documentary, Summer of Soul (…or, When the Revolution Could Not be Televised), directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, is the first official project under the Onyx Collective brand. The winner of both the Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award at Sundance Film Festival will be released theatrically by Searchlight Pictures and will begin streaming on Hulu in the U.S. on July 2.

The film will also stream internationally through the Star offering on Disney+ on a date to be confirmed. Additionally, produced by Oprah Winfrey and Lionsgate, the groundbreaking The 1619 Project, based on materials from The New York Times Magazine and Nikole Hannah-Jones’s acclaimed work by the same name, will launch on Hulu on a date yet to be announced.

The 1619 Project is an essential reframing of American history,” the docuseries’ director, Roger Ross Williams, told Deadline, as theGrio previously reported.

“Our most cherished ideals and achievements cannot be understood without acknowledging both systemic racism and the contributions of Black Americans. And this isn’t just about the past — Black people are still fighting against both the legacy of this racism and its current incarnation. I am thrilled and grateful for the opportunity to work with The New York Times, Lionsgate Television, Harpo Films and Hulu to translate the incredibly important The 1619 Project into a documentary series.”

On its website, newspaper officials describe The 1619 Project as “an ongoing initiative from The New York Times Magazine that began in August 2019, the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery.”

Its compelling mix of essays examine how it has influenced and even shaped all aspects of the nation’s society.

Read More: Questlove revitalizes vital portion of Black archive with ‘Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)’

Winfrey said, “Bringing together the creative resources of our friends at Lionsgate and The New York Times to support Nikole Hannah-Jones’ narrative and Roger Ross Williams’ vision is the perfect start to our partnership.” 

Ryan Coogler
Ryan Coogler (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI)

Onyx Collective will also be home to prolific creators including the recently announced overall deal with writer, comedian Natasha Rothwell (Insecure, SNL). Additionally, all non-Marvel titles produced by Ryan Coogler’s Proximity (Judas and the Black Messiah, Black Panther) will also be shepherded by Duncan under the Onyx Collective brand. 

“We’re building a home where creators of color are inspired, empowered and have unparalleled access to reach audiences around the world,” said Duncan. “This artist-first approach will make Onyx Collective synonymous with entertaining, brave and bold ideas told from a distinct point of view. I’m humbled by the opportunity and all of the possibilities.”

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