About the African American Steering Committee

The African American Steering Committee (AASC) was born of a desire to address the specific needs of the African-American members of the Directors Guild. Clearly, the greatest concern among members is in the area of employment. One of the primary goals of the committee is to establish a productive line of communication between African-American members and the creative community. With that in mind, the Committee meets monthly planning events throughout the year celebrating the achievements of African-Americans, as well as forums with industry executives pro-actively addressing what can be done to hire more African-Americans.
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History of the African American Steering Committee

The AASC grew out of the DGA's Ethnic Minority Committee, formed in 1980, largely due to the efforts of Wendell J. Franklin, the first African-American member of the DGA, and fellow African-American directors Ivan Dixon, William Crain and Reuben Watt. In January of 1994, the DGA National Board approved a revived African-American Steering Committee, co-chaired by Roy Campanella II, Deirdre Dix and Kevin Hooks.

The Committee now has a formal structure with twenty members elected annually to represent the Guild's African-American members. In its current format, the AASC actively explores ways to assist the Guild in improving employment opportunities, working conditions and financial compensation for ethnic minority members. Subsequent Co-Chairs of the Committee include DGA President Paris Barclay, Abdul Malik Abbott, Reginald D. Brown, LeVar Burton, Bill Duke, Van Hayden, Erma Elzy-Jones, Loretha Jones, Ted Lange, Bob Reid, Michael Schultz, and Carl Weathers. The AASC's current co-chairs are Jeff Byrd, Oz Scott and Carl Seaton.

The AASC organizes numerous events including seminars, panel discussions and has presented tributes to pioneering directors such as Debbie Allen, Bill Duke, Wendell J. Franklin, Melvin Van Peebles, Stan Lathan and Gordon Parks. Some of these events have led to actual change such as the panel discussion, Moving Forward: A Catalyst for Change, held on November 16, 1994, which resulted in the eventual creation of the DGA-Disney Directors Training Program. A year later, the AASC partnered with Warner Brothers to present an all-day seminar, Getting Work in Film & Television. Along with the Women's Steering Committee and the Latino Committee, the AASC participates in the Annual DGA Student Film Awards. In addition to its membership functions, the AASC encourages the greater participation of African-American members in all Guild activities, and maintains a healthy line of communication with the DGA leadership, the executive decision-making structure of Hollywood and various organizations within the creative community.


For more information about the DGA African-American Steering Committee, contact Frank Bennett Gonzalez at 310-289-5377 or via email at FGonzalez@dga.org.

DGA Members: Please log in for meeting times and other African American Steering Committee information.

 

Contact
Gabe Kahsay
Contracts and Committee Coordinator
(310) 289-5390
gabek@dga.org
Committee Chairs
Jeff Byrd
Co-Chair
Oz Scott
Co-Chair
Abul Malik Abbott
Director Category Representative
Courtney Johnson
AD/UPM Category Representative
No Photo Available
AD/SM/PA Category Representative
Melvin Van Peebles

Melvin Van Peebles discusses his career with his son, director and actor Mario Van Peebles, including starting to direct in France, his award-winning film The Story of a Three Day Pass, and kicking off the blaxpoitation genre with his independently financed and produced Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song.

Michael Schultz

Michael Schultz recalls his career through four decades of directing, beginning in the theater, successes with Cooley High and Car Wash, and his prolific work in episodic television.

Bill Duke

Bill Duke discusses his directorial career and working with Ossie Davis, Laurence Fishburne and Forest Whitaker in films such as Deep Cover, A Rage in Harlem, Hoodlum, and Deacons for Defense. He also discusses changes in the film industry and the DGA’s role in fostering diversity in Hollywood.