Ava DuVernay Talks Black Women In Film At Essence Festival 2019
Photo by Paras Griffin/Getty Images for ESSENCE

American filmmaker, producer and writer Ava DuVernay talked about the importance of diversity in film, the critically-acclaimed Netflix series, When They See Us and the power of storytelling Friday at the 2019 Essence Festival.

DuVernay is known for making her fans fall in love with her projects on and off-screen by constantly bringing new young Black talent to the big screen. The director said it’s not enough to only change the tone onscreen, but also behind the camera.

“Over 90% of entertainment is produced by white men. I’m apart of a lineage of creators who want to change that narrative. You can tell when a show is made by a sister,” DuVernay told ESSENCE’s Entertainment Director Cori Murray.

She takes on that same passion when creating projects like, A Wrinkle in Time, Queen Sugar and Selma. When asked how has DuVernay changed as a director over the years, her response resonated with the audience.

“I feel more powerful as a storyteller. I feel more confident. I’ve learned that storytelling can shift culture, it can right wrongs, it helped me find my calling,” she revealed.

The final words of inspiration DuVernay left with the crowd were to remind them that transition does not happen all at once.

“Take baby steps, do a little something every day towards your goal and know those steps will take you to a place of passion,” she advised.

Essence Festival continues through Sunday.

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