Out of Focus - Out of Sync

Thirteen years ago, the television networks unveiled their 1999-2000 fall television season. The lineup of 26 new shows did not feature a single actor of color in a starring or leading role. In direct response to this “whiteout,” the NAACP initiated an ongoing campaign not only to address the lack of community of color representation on TV, but also the lack of employment opportunities for African Americans, Asian Americans, Latinos and Native Americans in the entertainment industry as a whole.

In concert with that initiative, the NAACP in 2002 established its Hollywood Bureau, which monitors the entertainment industry in an effort to hold it accountable for advancing diversity in front of the camera and behind the scenes. Periodically the Bureau releases this reportOut of Focus, Out of Sync – on the status of these efforts, which is primarily intended to focus on the four major broadcast networks fall season shows. Thus, the NAACP’s continuing endeavors to affect film and television have never been more critical, given that these media giants beam powerful images throughout the world--shaping our beliefs, opinions and decisions.

In its fourth printing, Out of Focus - Out of Sync challenges the entertainment industry to take a closer look at itself and to take more than tiny, incremental steps. We ask that the industry take a giant leap into a future that is inspired by the NAACP Vision Statement and the American dream.


Master’s Writing Fellowship

The NAACP Hollywood Bureau created the Master Writing Fellowship in conjunction with networks CBS and NBC for students at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) and the University of Southern California (USC.) Participating Fellows fulfill their fellowship requirements with CBS, NBC and their respective university while also participating as interns with the NAACP Hollywood Bureau. Program alum have gone on to write for such shows as NBC’s Heroes and ABC’s Private Practice.

NAACP Timeline

NAACP Interactive Historical Timeline

The, a powerful learning tool, sponsored by the Verizon Foundation, is the NAACP’s interactive timeline that makes stories come to life by chronicling the history of our 103-year old organization and the civil rights movement through words, pictures, interviews and film.

Celebrities Lawrence Fishburne, Nate Parker, Nia Long, Tichina Arnold, Tatyana Ali, Chandra Wilson, Dennis Haysbert, and Tracee Ellis Ross all participated in the project. Click here:, to look around, discover and learn.

Fresh-Ink Writers

FRESH INK was created to seek out fresh, new, diverse voices from within the creative community. Fresh Ink – an initiative from Warner Bros. Television in partnership with the NAACP and supervised by the Warner Bros. Writers’ Workshop – oversees the development of comedy and drama ideas from writers from communities of color into viable pilot scripts for sale to broadcast and cable networks. The Warner Bros. Writers’ Workshop has been dedicated to finding and helping writers of all ethnicities break into the highly competitive world of television writing since 1976. The only requirements for writers to develop ideas under the FRESH INK banner is that they be of an ethnic minority and not have staffed over the producer level on a television show.

WGAW Strike Waiver

During the writer’s strike of 2008, the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW) signed an interim agreement with the NAACP for The 39th NAACP Image Awards. The agreement allowed the hiring of WGA writers to script the show, and in addition there was no picketing of the event by striking writers-–not the case with other award shows during that period. Additionally, the Guild granted a waiver permitting the use of clips from motion pictures and television programs.