EXCLUSIVE: Marya Bangee has been hired as Disney Studios Content’s VP of Multicultural Audience Engagement.
Bangee will be working as a creative thought partner with the different studios under the Disney Studios umbrella (Disney live action, Lucasfilm, Marvel Studios, Walt Disney Animation, Pixar, 20th Century, and Searchlight) on telling culturally representative stories. Her team is responsible for furthering representation across the Studios through content advisement; market strategies; talent acquisition and retainment; and Disney’s Launchpad, which is an incubator for diverse emerging filmmakers that just announced its second season.
Bangee replaces Julie Ann Crommett who left the role in February to pursue a career in public service.
Previously, Bangee was the Executive Director of Harness, an organization started by America Ferrera, Wilmer Valderrama, and Ryan Piers Williams to center the stories of underrepresented communities in Hollywood. Through her work at Harness, she worked with networks, studios, and culture shapers to promote new narratives within popular culture. Bangee has worked with artists like Coldplay, Katy Perry, Natalie Portman, Kerry Washington, Eva Langoria, and many others to use their platforms for social justice.
She also ran her own company, SILA Consulting, which advises on film and television projects. SILA consulted on both Disney’s live-action $1.05 billion grossing feature Aladdin and the upcoming Disney+ series Ms. Marvel.
Bangee started her journey as a community organizer in the Muslim-American community, including leading a national advocacy campaign for the protection of free speech on college campuses. Through her organizing, she has often represented the Muslim-American voice in national media like the New York Times and NPR.
After completing her baccalaureate degrees in English and Sociology at UC Irvine, she served as a Project Director at UCLA, working to increase access to higher education in impoverished areas of the city. Seeing the need for communal solutions to the challenges posed by poverty, she completed a six-month residency with the Industrial Areas Foundation. There, Bangee studied the works of Saul Alinsky and Marshall Ganz while helping organize a mayoral town hall with a thousand Angelenos and carrying out a series of mobile enrollment clinics for the Affordable Care Act with low-income communities.
She was selected for the prestigious Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs, where she worked on a national senate campaign, staffed California’s Speaker of the Assembly, and helped develop part of the ten-year strategic plan for the California Community Foundation. Bangee graduated as a Dean’s Merit Scholar from the University of Southern California (USC) with her Masters in Public Administration in 2015, specializing in nonprofit management and public policy. In 2017, she was selected by the Ford Foundation as a Public Voices Fellow, which aims to dramatically increase the impact of spokespeople from underrepresented communities. In 2019, she was part of the inaugural cohort of the Pillars Fund Narrative Change Fellowship, where she helped think through narrative strategies for Muslim communities. In 2020, she was selected as a USC Annenberg Civic Media Fellow, where she is exploring how to cultivate her own creative practice for social change.
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