The Blck List, CBS Studios and NAACP Announce Initiative to Discover Black Writing Talent

Starting Aug. 16 through Nov, 16, veteran or aspiring writers with feature films, plays, pilots, theatrical musicals currently hosted on The Black List may submit their entries for free

Photo Courtesy of Mikelya Fournier for Unsplash

This article was originally published on BLAC Detroit Magazine.

Starting August 16th through November 16th, veteran or aspiring writers with feature films, plays, pilots, theatrical musicals currently hosted on The Black List may submit their entries for free. Writers who do not have scripts hosted on blcklst.com should register for at least one week before the deadline to take advantage of this opportunity. The Black List is assisting partners CBS Studios and NAACP Production Venture in this effort to build a pipeline for Black talent in television.

Tiffany Smith-Anoa’i, executive vice president for diversity and inclusion in the West Coast at Paramount Global, says, “This new initiative will provide us with a platform to reach and ultimately nurture writers who wish to tell compelling and inclusive stories that speak to the Black experience.” Access to this unique program is gained through The Black List, so dust off those scripts, join blcklst.com and hit send. One lucky writer will be offered a WGA-minimum script deal. There is potential for scripts that are short-listed to be seen by show runners and network executives.

Why now?

It’s no secret that Black writers are immensely talented, despite being routinely denied by white gatekeepers and tastemakers who do not understand our stories. They think our experiences are marginal, and are resistant to ideas that do not reflect the status quo. And yet, box office numbers for Jordan Peele’s film “Nope”; the longevity of Kenya Barris‘ television show “Black-ish”; and Katori Hall’s (P-Valley) Pulitzer Prize winning play The Hot Wing King prove stories directed/written/produced and starring Black people are highly successful.

It’s obvious that Hollywood should bet on Black writers without the world almost coming to an end. Two years ago, it was twin pandemics – Covid-19 and the racial reckoning after the murders of George Floyd, Ahmad Arbery and Brianna Taylor – that made the white infrastructure look at itself. For a moment, it looked like Black people would make inroads into every industry, but then the dust settled. However, this is not the case as CBS Studios and the NAACP Production Venture tap into the existing resource of writers on The Black List to move the needle forward for Black writers in the industry.

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