EDSC More Than Just Numbers

More Than Just Numbers: Why POC Inclusivity On Set Matters More Than Ever

February 22, 2021 An Eastern Diversity Steering Committee panel discussion

On February 22, the Eastern Diversity Steering Committee (EDSC) presented the panel discussion, More Than Just Numbers: Why POC Inclusivity On Set Matters More Than Ever. In a conversation moderated by Director/EDSC Co-Chair Jono Oliver, 1st ADs Senica Billingsley and Mariela Comitini and 2nd ADs Teena Marie Delerme-Lugo, Steve Jean-Baptiste, and Kenyon Noble focused on their experiences as Assistant Directors working on non-inclusive sets and how members are working towards change.

The panelists discussed making their way in the industry often as the sole person of color on set, shared their stories of breaking into the business, often against great odds, and emphasized the importance of seeing other ADs and crew members of color paving the way. They also compared their experiences on sets which were predominantly people of color versus those where they were in the minority, and shared stories of discrimination they faced as well as unique contributions they were able to add to white-majority spaces.

During the discussion, attendees were invited to ask questions of the panelists, who opened-up about instances where Directors, ADs and Producers were willing to take a chance on them when they were new to the business and still finding their way.

About the Panelists:
1st AD Senica Billingsley1st AD Senica Billingsley
Billingsley’s resume includes episodes of Queen of the SouthThe ChiClaws and Shameless. She was also the Key 2nd AD on feature films such as Paul Feig’s Bridemaids and Spike Lee’s Chiraq, and the series Sense 8, among many others. Billingsley has been a DGA member since 2009 and has served on the 2017 Negotiations Committee and as an alternate member of the Chicago Coordinating Committee.
1st AD Mariela Comitini1st AD Mariela Comitini
Comitini has an extensive resume in both television and feature film and has worked on series such as The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, and features including Barry Jenkins’ If Beale Street Could Talk, Steve McQueen’s Widows and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s upcoming Tic, Tic, Boom! Comitini has been a DGA member since 2008. 
2nd AD Teena Marie Delerme-Lugo2nd AD Teena Marie Delerme-Lugo
Delerme-Lugo’s resume includes episodes of POSEThe Plot Against AmericaThe BlacklistTom Clancy's Jack RyanThe Bold Type and Blue Bloods. Delerme-Lugo has been a DGA member since 2017. 
2nd AD Steve Jean-Baptiste 2nd AD Steve Jean-Baptiste
Jean-Baptiste’s resume includes feature films such as Craig Brewer’s Coming 2 America; and episodes of Madam SecretaryBad Advice From My Brother and Scenes from a Marriage. Jean-Baptiste has been a DGA member since 2014. 
2nd AD Kenyon Noble 2nd AD Kenyon Noble
Noble’s resume includes features such as Radha Blank’s The 40-Year-Old Version, Kenny Leon’s American Son, George Tillman Jr.’s Notorious and Dennis Dugan’s I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry; and episodes of series including Ugly Betty and The Big C. He is currently working on season two of Wu Tang: An American Saga. Noble has been a DGA member since 2005. 

Director Jono Oliver Director Jono Oliver (moderator)
Oliver recently directed episodes of the television shows For LifeAmerican SoulLincoln Rhyme, and Enemy Within. A DGA member since 1991, he currently serves as a Co-Chair of the EDSC.


About the Committee:

Eastern Diversity Steering Committee

The Eastern Diversity Steering Committee represents the concerns of Guild members of African, Asian, Native American, Arab-Middle Eastern or Latino descent residing in the East. Committed to improving the employment opportunities, working conditions and the skills of ethnically diverse Guild members, the Committee sponsors workshops, seminars, round-table discussions and networking events to showcase the talents of its members, recognize their contributions and increase their visibility in the industry. The Committee’s current Co-Chairs are Directors Jono Oliver and Louis Venosta and Associate Director Joyce A. Thomas.


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