*Picture courtesy of the www.dailydot.com*
Happy Wednesday! After seeing Black Panther multiple times so far (Don’t Judge Me LOL) I have been even more obsessed with African American movies, actors, directors, etc… It’s just so important to see people of a similar heritage as mine, as well as close to my age, really making an impact in the entertainment industry and creative space as a whole. It means so much to me, being a 30 year old African American female trying to get into that same industry somehow. I plan on talking about a lot of these people so we can all learn more about them and their impact.
Who is Ava DuVernay?
This director, writer, and producer was born in California. She was raised by her mother, who was an educator, and her stepfather. The surname of her biological father, Joseph Marcel DuVernay III, originates with Louisiana Creole (same as me) ancestry. She grew up near Compton (California) and graduated in 1990 from Saint Joseph High School. At the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), she was a double BA major in English Literature and African American studies.
Her first interest was in journalism, influenced by her internship with CBS News, where she was assigned to help cover the OJ Simpson Murder Trial. It was then when she decided to move into public relations, working as a junior publicist before opening her own public relations firm, The DuVernay Agency, also known as DVAPR, in 1999. Her agency provided marketing and PR services to the entertainment and lifestyle industry. Some of her more well-known projects, that you may or may not be familiar with, are Scandal (tv series), Selma (movie), Queen Sugar (tv series), Family Feud (Jay-Z music video), and recently A Wrinkle in Time (movie); just to name a few.
Black Film Renaissance in the Making?…
Ava is not the first, the only, or the last in what is being called the ‘Black Film Renaissance’. But at the moment, Ava, Jordan Peele (who directed the Oscar-winning film ‘Get Out’), and Ryan Coogler ( director of Fruitvale Station, Creed, Creed 2, and Black Panther) are really sparking something amazing in this community of African American actors and directors. I definitely need to do some more research on this whole movement and who sparked the three directors I previously mentioned. All it takes is one person to inspire someone who inspires more people.
Michael T. Martin, who is director of the Black Film Center/Archive and Professor in the Media School and Department of American Studies at Indiana University Bloomington, published a journal article where he spoke to Ava. This article sums up so much about her and what she is doing to change the culture of film-making; as an African American and as a female. Below are some quotes from this article. I will put a link below them so you can check it out for yourself if you are interested.
Quotes from Michael T Martin’s Journal Article, Conversations with Ava DuVernay – “A Call to Action”: Organizing Principles of an Activist Cinematic Practice :
“Like other African American filmmakers, including pioneers of past generations, DuVernay subscribes to the ethos that art serves a social purpose, debunks demeaning and normative assumptions about black people, and renders black humanity in all manner of genres and complexity. Like many black art movements before her, she continues to advocate for black empowerment and representation in the media.”
Michael T. Martin has said “DuVernay is among the vanguard of a new generation of African American filmmakers who are the busily undeterred catalyst for what may very well be a black film renaissance in the making. He further speaks of DuVernay’s mission and “call to action” which constitutes a strategy “to further and foster the black cinematic image in an organized and consistent way, and to not have to defer and ask permission to traffic our films: to be self-determining.”
Michael T. Martin’s Journal Article Here < http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2979/blackcamera.6.1.57 >
Check Out Miss Ava DuVerynay!
Twitter & Instagram @ava