African American Steering Committee Co-Chairs Elected

AASC 2020

February 12, 2020

Directors Jeffrey W. Byrd and Janice Cooke and UPM Dwight Williams have been elected as Co-Chairs of the African American Steering Committee (AASC).

Director Abdul Malik Abbot, 1st AD Shawn Pipkin-West and Stage Manager Jeff Arnold have been elected Director, AD/UPM and AD/SM/PA category representatives, respectively.

Jeff ByrdJeffrey W. Byrd

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; and episodes of the series Dynasty, The Flash, Charmed, Black Lightning, Soul Food and Single Ladies. A DGA member since 1999, he has served on the Western Directors Council and previously served two terms as the AASC as Co-Chair from 2014 to 2018 and as the AASC Director category rep from 2018-2020.

Janice CookeJanice Cooke

Cooke’s filmography includes episodes of Manhunt, Games People Play, Step Up: High Water, Greenleaf, Royal Pains, Pretty Little Liars, The Game, Hart of Dixie, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, The Division; the movies for television I Am Somebody’s Child: The Regina Louise Story and Surviving Compton: Dre, Suge & Michel’le; and the mini-series Hollywood Is Like High School with Money. She has been a member of the DGA since 1999.

Dwight WilliamsDwight Williams

A DGA member for nearly 50 years, Williams joined the Guild in 1971 after graduating from the Assistant Director Training Program. He served on the Eastern AD/UPM Council from 1972-78 and from 1985-87; and as an alternate on the Western AD/UPM Council from 2008 to 2017. He also served for eleven years on the Western UPM Committee, six of them as co-chair, and has been an active participant on the Guild’s African American Steering Committee. Williams career includes AD and UPM work on hit features as A Soldier’s Story, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, New Jack City, Lean on Me, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Hustle and Flow, The Best Man Holiday, and Girls Trip. In 2018 he received the Frank Capra Achievement Award, which is given to an AD or UPM in recognition of career achievement in the industry and service to the Directors Guild of America.

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 several times a year, planning events throughout the year celebrating the achievements of African-Americans, as well as forums with industry executives.