Tag Archives Ava Du’Vernay

Ava DuVernay Named Co-Chair Of Prada’s New Diversity & Inclusion Council

Following the release of what seemed like a plethora of racially insensitive high-end and low-end products from fashion houses everywhere, one luxury brand, in particular, is taking the steps necessary to diversify its company and “amplify voices of color.”

Prada has created an advisory council that will be led by filmmaker and screenwriter Ava DuVernay and activist and artist Theaster Gates. The Prada Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council’s purpose is to “advise the company as it invests in diverse talent development and expands opportunities for young students of color in the fashion industry.”

The company’s new initiative includes partnering with several universities and colleges to create internships, sponsorships, and training programs at Prada offices in the US and worldwide.

“Prada is committed to cultivating, recruiting and retaining diverse talent to contribute to all departments of the company,” Miuccia Prada, chief executive officer and lead creative director at Prada, said in a statement. “In addition to amplifying voices of color within the industry we will help ensure that the fashion world is reflective of the world in which we live, and we are thrilled to be working with long-time collaborators, Ava DuVernay and Theaster Gates, on this important initiative. We look forward to working with the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Council to help us grow not only as a company but also as individuals.”

Prada is no stranger to receiving backlash for racially insensitive imagery. In December, the luxury fashion house issued an apology and discontinued selling a small simian figure with a black face and big red lips, a creature created by Prada as part of its holiday “Pradamalia” collection.

I don’t make a lot of public posts, but right now I’m shaking with anger. Today after returning to NYC after a very…

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“Prada Group abhors racist imagery,” Prada said in a statement according to CNN. “The Pradamalia are fantasy charms composed of elements of the Prada oeuvre. They are imaginary creatures not intended to have any reference to the real world and certainly not blackface. We abhor all forms of racism and racist imagery.”

Ava DuVernay To Host ‘National Day of Racial Healing’ To Help Fight Inequality & Injustice

Using her platform to urge bold conversations surrounding discrimination and injustice, Ava DuVernay will be hosting this year’s National Day of Racial Healing on Tuesday (Jan. 22) at 1 PM PT. This will be a live stream event, so it’s open to the public. If you are a person who cares to end racial, ethnic, and religious bias and build an equitable and just society, you should consider joining the conversation.

The ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ director will host the event through her distribution, arts, and advocacy collective ARRAY. Other participants include Stacey Abrams, Laverne Cox, and David Oyelowo.

“The responsibility of fighting inequality and injustice is all of ours,” DuVernay tells Deadline. “But it’s particularly important that those of us with certain visibility and influence use our platforms to urge bold conversations. We can never give up on pushing this nation to live up to its promise.”

Founded in 2016 through a collaborative effort of more than 550 U.S. leaders, the National Day of Racial Healing, which is a part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation effort, is an annual day to:

  • Reinforce and honor our common humanity, while celebrating the distinct differences that make our communities vibrant.
  • Acknowledge the deep racial divisions that exist in America and must be overcome and healed.
  • Commit to engaging people from all racial and ethnic groups in genuine efforts to increase understanding, communication, caring and respect for one another.

“There’s a lot of talking and tweeting these days,” DuVernay continued. “A lot of pontification about where we are as a country and how we arrived here. When Kellogg approached ARRAY about working together on furthering and deepening those conversations, I was all in.”

Again, this event will be live-streamed to the public on Tuesday (Jan. 22). To read more on the National Day of Racial Healing, click here.

Ava DuVernay Signs $100M Multi-Year, Multi-Genre Deal With Warner Bros TV

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The deals continue to roll in for some of Black Hollywood’s most talented acts and creatives. Award-winning director and writer Ava DuVernay has signed a $100 million multi-year, multi-genre TV deal with Warner Bros. Television Group. Under the agreement, DuVernay will develop and produce television projects exclusively for Warner Bros. through her production company Forward Movement. This includes drama and comedy series, documentaries, digital content, event projects, and longer-form projects for broadcast and cable, premium cable, streaming services, and other platforms.

“I’ve had nothing but beautiful experiences working with Peter Roth, Susan Rovner, and Brett Paul,” DuVernay tells Deadline. “They love and support artists in wonderful and nourishing ways. They work within a traditional studio headed by Kevin Tsujihara that is stirring with untraditional energy and fresh protocols for intentional, inclusive image-making. Warner Bros is a terrific partner about matters of visibility and belonging for all kinds and cultures of people, which is our mission at Forward Movement. I couldn’t be happier to call Warner Bros TV my production home.”

Warner Bros TV Group President and Chief Content Officer Peter Roth calls Ava DuVernay “one of the leading lights in our industry” and speaks on what makes her the perfect fit for this partnership.

“Ava DuVernay is one of the leading lights in our industry, a brilliantly talented writer, producer, director and entrepreneur whose ability to inspire with her art is exceeded only by her ability to entertain,” said Roth. “We have had the great pleasure of working with her on Queen Sugar and The Red Line, and we are extremely excited about the new stories she has to tell.”

Ava’s deal with Warner Bros. goes into effect in January. Other projects for the A Wrinkle In Time director include Netflix’s Central Park Five four-part-drama, slated for 2019, as well as Prince documentary with exclusive access to archives also coming to the streaming service.

Ava DuVernay Becomes First Black Woman To Direct $100 Million-Grossing Film With ‘A Wrinkle In Time’

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Ava DuVernay continues to make history as she has now become the first black female director to cross the $100 million mark domestically with the Disney film ‘A Wrinkle In Time’.

DuVernay, who is paving the way for future women of color in film, took to her Instagram to say, “Maybe the first, but not the last. More sisters to come.”

‘A Wrinkle In Time,’ which stars Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Levi Miller, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Chris Pine follows an ordinary girl’s epic adventure and brave journey to save her family, which is led by three celestial guides. The film takes audiences across dimensions of time and space, examining the nature of darkness versus light, and ultimately the triumph of love.

Ironically, during a 2016 interview with CBS This Morning, Ava DuVernay says that she’d only ever dreamed of making small-budget films.

“No, I didn’t dream of this,” she said. “I just wanted to make my own small films. I saw a way to be able to take a small amount of money that I had saved… to buy a house, and I made a film with it instead. My mother wasn’t very happy about it at the time but it worked out. She’s cool with it now.”

Ava joins Ryan Coogler, F. Gary Gray, Tim Story, Keenan Ivory Wayans, Jordan Peele, Malcolm D. Lee, John Singleton, Clark Johnson, Lee Daniels, Antoine Fuqua, Peter Ramsey, and Sidney Poitier as the only African American directors with $100M grossing films.

Ava DuVernay To Executive Produce Mythical Drama Series ‘The Last Amazon’

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Ava DuVernay continues to pave the way for future women of color in the film industry as the powerhouse director has been tapped to executive produce The Last Amazon, a historical drama series that will focus on the great Amazon Queens such as Antiope and Hippolyta, portraying their loves and major battles, notably, their campaign against the Ancient Greeks.

The series will debut on Howard Stringer (former Chairman of Sony and former President of CBS) and Jeremy Fox’s (Chairman of leading international distributor, DRG) Atrium TV, an innovative commissioning club committed to creating standout drama series that includes projects from A-list writers and world-class producers.

The Last Amazon will be written by Rafe Judkins and Narcos’s Gene Stein will produce alongside Ava DuVernay.

Ava’s recent projects also include directing The New Gods comic for Warner Bros, DC and executive producing CBS drama pilot Red Line.

AMC Theatre’s & Color Of Change Will Provide Free ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ Tickets to Underprivileged Kids

We are all gearing up to watch Ava DuVernay’s A Wrinkle In Time and Color of Change and AMC Theatres are working together to make sure that underprivileged kids get a chance to screen the movie for free. Color of Change is a nonprofit civil rights advocacy organization and according to Variety magazine, the free ticket will be offered through their “Give a Child the Universe” initiative.

The “Give a Child the Universe” initiative encouraged both individuals and groups to purchase and donate tickets to the movie. With the donation, Color of Change will give tickets away to partners, schools and other community organizations for showings and their local AMC theatre.

“Color of Change believes in the power of images and supports those working to change the rules in Hollywood so that inclusive, empathetic and human portrayals of Black people and people of color are prominent on the screen,” Color of Change Executive Director Rashad Robinson said, according to Variety. “From Selma to now A Wrinkle In Time, Ava DuVernay has set out to change the rules in Hollywood for people of color and women.

“By casting a black teenage actress Storm Reid as the heroine at the center of this story, the filmmakers, and the studio send a powerful message to millions of young people who will see someone like them embracing their individuality and strength to save the world,” Robinson added. “We are pleased to partner with AMC to ensure that as many young people as possible, regardless of economic and financial hardships, can see this groundbreaking film.”

The A Wrinkle in Time challenge is taking over social media just like the Black Panther Challenge. People will be buying out theaters soon, and we can not wait for our little boys and girls to see themselves in a positive light on the screen once again!

 

Sade Creates Original Song For Ava Duvernay’s ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ Film

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According to Ava Duvernay‘s most recent post, it looks like we will be getting new music from soul-stress Sade. Ava took to Twitter to share the amazing news that Sade will be creating an original song for the upcoming film, ‘A Wrinkle In Time’.

Fans are in awe because Sade hasn’t released a song or an album since the beloved “Solider of Love” project back in 2010. The song will be on the “Wrinkle In Time” soundtrack and it is called “Flower of the Universe”.

The highly anticipated film is directed by Ava DuVernay and stars Oprah Winfrey and Storm Reid. It is an adaptation of  Madeleine L’Engle’s novel and it can be described as this generation’s Wizard of Oz. Who will be heading to the theaters and downloading the soundtrack?

Ava DuVernay, LL Cool J To Receive W.E.B. Du Bois Medals From Harvard University`

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Film-maker Ava DuVernay and rapper turned actor LL Cool J both to be honored by Harvard University with W.E.B. Du Bois awards during a prestigious ceremony this October.

The W.E.B. Du Bois medal recognizes those who have largely impacted African American history and culture. The award, which ranks the highest of Harvard’s awards in the field of African American studies, globally measures contributions to the African American culture.

Who more deserving than Ava and LL?

Ava DuVernay who’s work includes powerful documentary “13th” which explores, race, mass incarceration and social justice in America; she also holds a BAFTA award for her prolific work in that doc. DuVernay also has claims to television show “Queen Sugar” as well as major motion pictures Selma, and upcoming “A Wrinkle In Time”.

LL Cool J, an early pioneer of hip hop and rap culture out of Queens recently became the first rapper to be recognized with Kennedy Center Honors.  These coveted honors are one of the most prestigious any artist can receive and are granted to those in the performing arts who’s art has contributed to American culture.

Ava DuVernay and LL Cool J join the an extensive list of excellence who have been presented this award. Past recipients include activist and athlete Muhammad Ali, rapper MC Lyte, rapper Nasir “Nas” Jones, prolific writer Maya Angelou, icon Oprah Winfrey and more.

DuVernay and LL Cool J will be honored during the 5th annual Hutchins Center Honors on Oct 4th, 2017 in Cambridge, Mass. Other honorees include political strategist Donna Brazille, librarian of congress Carla Hayden, Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation.

The Living Civil Series: Ava DuVernay

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Name: Ava DuVernay

Where is she from? Long Beach, California

What does she do? Disruptive African American Female Filmmaker and Director

How is she living civil?

From poet to production assistant to public relations to filmmaker and director, this polymathic matron is changing the facet of media through her everyday work. Ava DuVernay, responsible for the direction of the Oscar award winning film Selma, the eye-opening documentary 13th, and the Oprah Winfrey Network hit original series Queen Sugar is contributing to  the way that we perceive and understand others and the world around us. Whether it’s radio, television, or film, we tend to rely on the media to not only entertain us but keep us up to date, informed, inspired and aware. DuVernay provides truth through her work and serves as a vital piece to the distorted and often misunderstood puzzle called African American history and culture.

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BE OPEN AND DON’T FEAR EXPLORING YOUR OPTIONS.

Ava DuVernay took her first official step into the media and entertainment industry with her internship at CBS News where she was assigned to help cover the historical O.J. Simpson murder trial. During her time with CBS she got an insight into what goes on at major news networks and became disenchanted with journalism which resulted in her changing her initial career direction as a journalist. That change in direction led her into the corporate public relations field and eventually the birth of The DuVernay Agency, her very own PR agency which served as her career for many years leading up to her switch to filmmaking full time.  DuVernay has never been afraid of her path rerouting, she prides herself on career and self-exploration. Believing that we should not hold on to anything that is not nourishing to our mind, body, and soul no matter what it is. This unique perspective on life has led her to be one of the most prosperous and groundbreaking filmmakers of our time.

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IT TAKES A VILLAGE, SO FIND YOUR TRIBE.

Ava’s creative and polymathic spirit are heavily influenced by her mother and what she calls her “tribe”. It takes a village to raise a child, an age-old testament that holds value even in today’s modern world. DuVernay’s explorational way of going through life comes from her mother who had her at the tender age of 18-years-old. She watched her mother weave through life with possibility and a youthful sense of wonder. A woman who constantly searched for true liberation and satisfaction not externally but internally. Ava’s mother’s presence and wisdom made an everlasting impact on her life and the way that she handles her work, reminding us of the importance of being a present figure in our “villages”. It is true that the people around us shape who we are, who we are going to be, and where we are going to go.avfam

Ava also attributes the blossoming of her artistry to a time back in the 90’s when she was a student at UCLA hanging out at The Good Life Cafe spitting poetry. During this time Ava was surrounded by other creatives, artists, and like-minded individuals for the first time and this new environment sparked something new within her. Finding your tribe as a creative is vital to your success, creative energy is contagious so be sure to surround yourself with people who positively feed into you and keep you motivated.

BE INTENTIONAL, BE PROACTIVE, JUST BE. 

 Ava’s time at The Good Life Cafe inspired one of her first films, This Is The Life: How The West Was One a documentary about the Good Life Café Hip-Hop open-mic nights in South Central Los Angeles that gave birth to a whole movement in the LA Hip-Hop scene.  She started making films on her own outside of the industry, telling better stories about communities and families of color that were naturally activated and influenced by her surroundings. Her motto is to #stayshooting and that is exactly what she has done since 2008, her works of art include: My Mic Sounds Nice: The Truth About Women in Hip-Hop, I Will Follow, Middle Of Nowhere, The Door, and the recent epic apple music commercial starring Taraji P. Henson, Mary J. Blidge, and Kerry Washington. If she is not shooting a film she is shooting a commercial, television show, or another work of art, no matter what it is she is steadily shooting and maintaining that creative momentum to keep the muscle working.

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Ava is now the first female African-American director to be nominated for a Golden Globe, the director behind the Oscar Award winning film Selma which is a first for a black female director, and the first black woman to direct a $100 million dollar film movie (A Wrinkle In Time). The coolest part about all of this is she did her first feature film at the age of 38! It is never too late to start and produce the god-given purpose that is within you. She encourages artists to:

  1. Find a creative process that works for you. 
  2. Pay attention to your intent.
  3. Don’t ask or wait for permission, just create and the industry will start looking for you. (Insecure’s Issa Rae is a living testament of this gem)
  4. Find meaning and art in your everyday life.
  5. When you find yourself creatively blocked just “be” and take a break to gain inspiration from where you least expected it to come from. 

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“It did not happen to you, it happened for you and you need to figure out what to do with it.” – Oprah Winfrey

PUTTING OTHERS FIRST AND LEADING FROM BEHIND.

What we admire most about Ava DuVernay is her ability to put others first and lead from behind. Working as a publicist for the likes of Steven Spielberg, Michael Mann, Clint Eastwood, Raoul Peck, and Gurinder Chadha did not only push her to be a filmmaker full time but she also became very familiar with the film industry and the lack of opportunities for African-Americans and women. She makes it her mission to provide a platform for minorities and females working in film and television, behind and in front of the camera. In 2011, DuVernay founded ARRAY an independent film distribution and resource collective compromised of arts advocacy organizations, maverick volunteers, and rebel member donors worldwide. Their work is dedicated to amplifying independent films by people of color and women. Their goal is to make sure viewers nationwide, not just cinephiles, have access to the movies and they get in front of bigger audiences.

“It’s paramount to me and the people who are like me that their films get seen.” –  Ava DuVernay

Her work for others doesn’t stop there, Ava Duvernay hired a slew of talented women to direct one of her latest projects Queen Sugar for OWN. 

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Ava DuVernay is a pioneer in media who is making history and paving the way for future creatives to tell better stories about truth. We love Ava’s work because it is a true reflection of us, it’s rebellious, it’s raw, it’s genuine and it can help change negative and false perspectives that surround the African American reality. Ava shares information that people may not be aware of in her work and is a catalyst to the betterment of humanity. We cannot wait to see more from her and future filmmakers who are now inspired by her, keep #LIVINGCIVIL and propelling others to do the same!

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Ebony Magazine Unveils Its 2016 Ebony Power 100 List

This year has been full of black magic and last week, EBONY unveiled their annual Power 100 list honoring the extraordinary achievements of Black professionals, entertainers, and civic leaders. The list includes Beyonce, NFL player Colin Kaepernick, comedian Kevin Hard, tennis champion Serena Williams, singer Solange, artist Chance The Rapper, NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony, groundbreaking web/television star Issa Rae, and President of the NIKE brand Trevor Edwards just to name a few.

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EBONY selects the movers and shakers in our country who have made proficiently significant achievements over the past year. EBONY doesn’t just focus on the entertainment industry these entities are chosen from all fields, including business, medicine, sports, media, religion, creative arts, and anything else impactful or influential to our society.

“These 100 individuals are not only authoring their own success stories, they are leveraging their platforms in order to improve various facets of Black life and render us visible on the world stage.” – Editor-in-Chief, Senior Vice President and Head of Digital Editorial Kyra Kyles.

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The 2016 annual EBONY Power 100 issue is themed “power in numbers” reflecting on how vital it is to stick together as a community and open doors for one another. Nas is featured for employing brown people to tell the true story of hip-hop in the hit Netflix series The Get Down. Ava DuVernay is educating viewers by giving a voice to the voiceless through her mass incarceration documentary, 13th.  John Legend is documenting the true narrative of Black Wall Street. Simone Biles who has made history and is inspiring little black girls all over the world to believe in the unbelievable. Ebony says, “Power is nothing if it is not shared.”

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The 2016 Power 100 list will appear in the December issue of EBONY, check the full list of the EBONY Power 100, as well as exclusive behind-the-scenes footage and interviews on EBONY.com

 

Oprah Winfrey & Ava DuVernay Cover ‘The Hollywood Reporter’ Magazine

Selma director, Ava DuVernay and Oprah Winfrey are on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter‘s new issue, and to say so, their quite the dynamic duo!

One has been powerful source for decades, while the other is new on the scene, coming up as one of the chosen ones who will follow in her footsteps.

The two, who’ve teamed up to produce OWN’s new series Queen Sugar, sat down to talk about their roles and responsibilities as Black artists in the time of Black Live sMatter movement, and much more.

Check out some of the interview questions below, and to read the full interview, head over to HollywoodReporter.com

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Ava, you’ve expressed strong distaste for the term “diversity,” but Oprah has made use of it. How do you both characterize the concept now in terms of the overall conversation in the industry?

DUVERNAY: “We aren’t sitting around talking about diversity, just like we aren’t sitting around talking about being black or being women. We’re just being that.”

WINFREY: “I will say that I stand corrected. I used to use the word “diversity” all the time. “We want more diverse stories, more diverse characters …” Now I really eliminated it from my vocabulary because I’ve learned from her that the word that most articulates what we’re looking for is what we want to be: included. It’s to have a seat at the table where the decisions are being made.

DUVERNAY: “That was your take on it.

WINFREYWhen Sidney Poitier came to my school [in South Africa], he gave a gift of 550 movies to the girls. He thought if you watch these 550 movies, they’ll be your education for life. He wrote to the girls that his dream for them was to be able to sit at the table of the future where the world’s decisions would be made. I realize now that what he was saying is to be included, to be valued as a person who has something to contribute.”

As black artists, what responsibility do you feel to include the challenges facing the black community in your storytelling?

DUVERNAY: “You see integration of Black Lives Matter from the beginning of [Queen Sugar] because it is literally black lives having meaning and mattering in the everyday. With the Black Lives Matter movement, a lot of the focus is on the protest and dissent. I’m hoping to dismantle the public notion — for folks outside of the community — of what Black Lives Matter means. It’s really about saying that black lives matter, that humanity is the same when you go inside people’s homes.”

We recently saw strides made by the Academy to address the inequities in the Oscar race. Is it enough, and how will the discussion change this year?

DUVERNAY: “My experience with that world, through Selma, was what it was. [Selmascored a best picture nom, but DuVernay and her star, David Oyelowo, were snubbed.] It helped me understand what I value, and my times of greatest joy had nothing to do with any of that business; it had to do with the times that I shared the film with real people and with the people who walked up to me in airports and on the street to tell me what it meant to them and their families. As I went through the awards circuit, I found it was quite a contrast between that space where people congregate around films for reasons of story and not of business and accolades. So I’ll leave the analysis of [the Academy’s moves] to someone else and wish everyone well.”

Ava DuVernay is the First African-American Woman to Direct a $100 Million Film

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Fun fact: who is the first African-American woman to direct a live-action film with a budget over $100 million. Her name is Ava DuVernay and she will be at the reigns of A Wrinkle in Time starring Oprah Winfrey.

The achievement puts her in rare air, the only other women who have been the Director of a film with a large budge are Kathryn Bigelow and Patty Jenkins who directed K-19: The Widowmaker and Wonder Woman, respectively.

DuVernay has worked on some outstanding pieces in the past serving as the Director and Co-Writer for Selma, independent film Middle of Nowhere and more. Recently DuVernay declined to direct the upcoming Marvel film Black Panther because she felt that it wouldn’t be an Ava DuVernay film, however, you can be sure that A Wrinkle in Time will have her fingerprints all on it.

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