A Tribute to Gina Prince-Bythewood

A Tribute to Director Gina Prince-Bythewood

June 8, 2017 An African American Steering Committee Event

On June 8, the DGA’s African American Steering Committee (AASC) presented a special evening in honor of Director Gina Prince-Bythewood. The event celebrated the award-winning industry heavyweight in an insightful evening with notable directors, producers, editors and actors who have worked with Prince-Bythewood and have been influenced by her work.

The evening began with a VIP reception in the Guild’s Los Angeles headquarters atrium, then the audience of DGA members and guests settled into DGA Theater One to enjoy an evening of stories about the director from her collaborators. After a welcome from DGA Associate National Executive Director Bryan Unger, AASC Co-Chairs Jeff Byrd and Courtney Franklin spoke about the work of the Committee which includes a history of celebrating the achievements of African-American directors.

Then the audience viewed a retrospective reel about Prince-Bythewood’s work curated by AASC Activities & Events Subcommittee Co-Chair Abdul Malik Abbott. The video, which was narrated by Director and AASC member Michael DeLorenzo, featured an interview with Prince-Bythewood conducted by Activities & Events Subcommittee member Anna Maria Horsford.

Prince-Bythewood’s influence on the industry was exemplified by a roster of special guest speakers who spoke about working with her and being befriended by her on a wide variety of productions. Stepping to the stage to pay her honor were producers Susan Fales-Hill (A Different World) and Felicia D. Henderson (The Quad), actors Aisha Hinds (Shots Fired) and Sanaa Lathan (Love & Basketball), editor Terilyn A. Shropshire (The Secret Life of Bees), and Prince-Bythewood’s former assistant Lena Waithe who is now a writer/actor on shows such as Master of None. There were also video-taped tributes from colleagues and collaborators who were unable to attend that featured Directors Debbie Allen (A Different World) and Malcolm D. Lee (Shots Fired), Producer Mara Brock Akil (Girlfriends), and Actors Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Beyond the Lights), CCH Pounder (Disappearing Acts) and Regina Hall (Love & Basketball).

In the highlight of the evening, Prince-Bythewood came onstage to engage in an introspective look at her career via a lively and entertaining conversation moderated by Director Robert Townsend (Playin' for Love). After the discussion, Prince-Bythewood was presented with a commemorative gift from the Committee before everyone adjourned for a post-event reception in the DGA Lobby.

After starting her career as a writer on the sitcom A Different World and a writer/producer for series including Felicity, South Central and Sweet Justice, Prince-Bythewood made her directorial debut with the Emmy-nominated and NAACP Image Award-winning CBS Schoolbreak special What About Your Friends. She received an Independent Spirit Award and a Humanitas Prize for her widely acclaimed Sundance hit Love & Basketball. Other credits include the movie for television Disappearing Acts and the feature films The Secret Life of Bees and Beyond the Lights. Most recently, she and her husband, Reggie Rock Bythewood, created and produced the series Shots Fired for FOX and she also directed the pilot for the new Marvel series, Cloak and Dagger. She is set to direct Silver & Black, a spinoff of the Spider-Man franchise.

Prince-Bythewood joins an esteemed group of leading African American directors previously honored by the AASC including Debbie Allen, Maya Angelou, Paris Barclay, Lee Daniels, Ivan Dixon, Bill Duke, F. Gary Gray, Eric Laneuville, Stan Lathan Gordon Parks, Sidney Poitier, Richard Pryor, Michael Schultz, Tim Story, and Melvin Van Peebles. She has been a DGA member since 1999.


ABOUT THE 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. One of the primary goals of the Committee is to establish a productive line of communication between African-American members and the creative community. The Committee meets monthly to plan events throughout the year celebrating the achievements of African-Americans, as well as forums with industry executives to proactively address what can be done to hire more African-Americans.

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