African American Steering Committee Co-Chairs Elected


February 8, 2016

Directors Jeffrey W. Byrd and John D. Singleton and 2nd Assistant Director Courtney M. Franklin have been elected co-chairs of the African American Steering Committee (AASC).

Director Adbul Malik Abbott and UPM Nicci Freeman have been elected Director and AD/UPM category representatives, respectively.

The AASC was born of a desire to address the specific needs of the African-American members of the Guild with goal of advancing career and job opportunities. The Committee meets monthly planning events throughout the year celebrating the achievements of African-Americans, as well as forums with industry executives.


Director Jeffrey W. Byrd made his debut with the short film Breakdown in 1997. He would go on to direct the features King’s Ransom and A Beautiful Soul; the movies for television Seventeen Again and Jasper, Texas; episodes of the series Soul Food and Single Ladies; and music videos for Bone Thugs & Harmony and Nas. A DGA member since 1999, he previously served the AASC as Co-Chair in the last term.



A DGA member since 2002, Second Assistant Director Courtney M. Franklin has worked on a myriad of projects including the pilots for Hawthorne, Shark and Ugly Betty; the series Major Crimes, CSI:NY and The Closer; and the feature films Hollywood Homicide and Janky Promoters. A graduate of the DGA-Producer Assistant Directors Training Program, she previously served the AASC as the AD/UPM Category Representative.



Making his debut in 1991 with the Academy Award® nominated feature Boyz n the Hood, Director John Singleton was both the youngest person and the first African American to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Director. He has directed nine feature films including Poetic Justice, Higher Learning, Rosewood, Shaft, Baby Boy, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Four Brothers, and Abduction. Singleton has been a member of the DGA since 1990.