Throughout his two-decade career in business and finance, Brickson Diamond, M.B.A. ’99, always had an interest in helping talented people of color rise to the level of success they deserved.
“Diversity is being invited to the party,” he says. “Inclusion is playing the music I want to dance to, and serving the food I want to eat.”
So when he went with some friends to the Sundance Film Festival in 2006, a few things leapt out at him. First was that the movies were stunning, and everywhere the Southern California resident looked he saw films being bought, careers being made. But there was also this: “Why aren’t there any black people here?” he wondered. “Why aren’t we in this space?”
Not one to wait around for someone else to answer his question, Diamond, with entertainment industry veterans Ryan Tarpley and Carol Ann Shine, co-founded the Blackhouse Foundation in Los Angeles to address the problem.
Their goal was to educate and promote African American writers, producers, directors, and executives. In the past 13 years they’ve taken steps to support black filmmakers at festivals, host events to connect them with financiers, and design fellowships that give creators the skills they need to succeed.