Entertainment Media - Define American

Entertainment Media


Define American implements innovative pop culture strategies to change how our country talks about new Americans.

In 2019, Fast Company named Define American one of the  World’s Most Innovative Companies in its Film and Television category.

“Being recognized in the Film and Television category of Fast Company‘s Most Innovative list is not only a dream realized for our team, but also an acknowledgment of our commitment to employing entertainment strategies in America’s culture war over immigration,” said Elizabeth Grizzle Voorhees, Managing Director, Creative Initiatives at Define American. “Our innovative collaborations with entertainment professionals show how Hollywood has more power than it often acknowledges and can be a force for change when it recognizes the responsibility that comes with that kind of influence.”

For more information, please contact [email protected].


We consult with entertainment industry creatives to help them develop more realistic immigrant characters and navigate complex immigration-related storylines with the goal of creating positive and long-lasting cultural change.

To date, we have consulted on more than 50 film and television projects. In 2018, we signed with United Talent Agency to expand our impact within the entertainment industry. In 2019, we partnered with Comedy Central to develop comedic content that helps beget social change.

Check out our work on
Grey’s Anatomy (ABC)
Superstore (NBC)
Roswell, New Mexico (The CW / Netflix)
The Sun Is Also a Star (Warner Bros. Pictures)

Research and Resources

We compile data and create resources to help entertainment industry creatives evolve in their understanding of American immigrants.

We produced and regularly update Immigrants and Immigration: A Guide for Entertainment Professionals, a resource for creatives who want to tell stories that are both accurate and humanizing about immigrants in our country today.

In collaboration with the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center’s Media Impact Project (MIP), we analyzed how immigrants and immigration issues were depicted on television and compared said depictions with the reality of the immigrant experience. Download a summary of this study or read the full report.

Also download our 3-page summary on the state of Mass Incarceration and Mass Detention.


When hip hop artist 21 Savage was detained by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for being undocumented, we helped form the #Free21Savage coalition, drafted press materials, co-produced a PSA, and protested outside the Grammy Awards on his behalf. Our successful efforts to free him on bond were featured in a Billboard cover story.

In 2018, we hosted, in partnership with the Writers Guild Foundation and the Hollywood Reporter, a panel discussion on how immigrants are depicted on television featuring comedian Cristela Alonzo and writers Rafael Agustín (Jane the Virgin) and Mando Alvarado (Vida). And months earlier, we hosted a panel discussion on immigrant narratives in Hollywood featuring actors Bambadjan Bamba (Marvel’s Black Panther) and Nico Santos (Crazy Rich Asians) and Melissa Harris-Perry.

Story Platform

Our immigration story bank is as a resource for entertainment industry creatives looking to incorporate immigrant characters into storylines.

Please contact [email protected] if you use one of our stories as inspiration for a project so that we can notify the appropriate parties.

Browse Stories

Define American Film Festival

The Define American Film Festival (DAFF) is a cultural event that highlights films about immigration, intersectionality, and the changing American identity with the goal of initiating thought-provoking conversations in communities across the country. Through screenings, panels, and open discussions, we strive to create empathy for people of diverse cultural backgrounds, histories, and worldviews. The impact of these storytelling perspectives becomes tightly woven in the fabric of these communities–and unlike other film festivals, our incorporation of immigrant narratives through the lens of Hollywood plants seeds for a more welcoming America.

Learn More