On the eve of Disney’s upfront presentation, the company unveiled Onyx Collective, a dedicated premium content brand for creators of color and underrepresented voices to be led by Freeform President Tara Duncan, said Dana Walden, chairman of entertainment, Walt Disney Television on Monday.
“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,” said Walden in a statement. “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.”
“We’re building a home where creators of color are inspired, empowered and have unparalleled access to reach audiences around the world,” said Duncan, who joined Freeform from Netflix a year ago, also in a statement. “This artist-first approach will make Onyx Collective synonymous with entertaining, brave and bold ideas told from a distinct point of view.”
Disney’s streaming service Hulu will serve as the collective’s primary home but platform creators will have access to other Disney platforms in certain cases, the company said, and select titles will be available internationally on Disney+ as part of the Star general entertainment offering.
Among the collective’s first high-profile projects are Ahmire “Questlove” Thompson’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize and Audience Award winner Summer of Soul, which premieres on Hulu on July 2. Coming soon to the service is the TV version of the New York Times’ Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project spearheaded by Nikole Hannah-Jones, executive produced by Oscar-winner Roger Ross Williams and produced by Oprah Winfrey and Lionsgate.
Other creators joining the collective include Natasha Rothwell (HBO’s Insecure) and Ryan Coogler (Judas and the Black Messiah, Black Panther, Creed), whose non-Marvel productions will be shepherded by Duncan under the Onyx Collective brand.